Education and the Internet
The Internet is a global network of interconnected computers consisting of millions of computer systems containing a vast array of information, resources and services. In order to prepare all students with 21st century skills and tools, and provide all students with a high quality education in a safe and secure environment, it is essential that students and staff have access to the Internet and understand how to responsibly leverage technology as a tool in support of student achievement and educational excellence at West Covina Unified School District.
1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
a. West Covina Unified School District (the “District") provides access to the Internet, including access to e-mail, for its employees and selected students.
b. Internet access and the use of e-mail through the use of the District’s system, has a limited educational purpose including conducting collaborative work and sharing information with individuals regardless of time and/or geographic boundaries. It is intended to facilitate communication between teachers, students and their parents and further the sharing of information between teachers and administrators throughout the District.
c. This Acceptable Use Policy governs all electronic activity, including e-mail and access to the Internet by District employees and students. No District employee, student, or parent/guardian may engage in activities prohibited by this Acceptable Use Policy.
d. The use of District technology and Internet access is a privilege. The District reserves the right to terminate any user’s access to the Internet, including access to e-mail at any time and for anyreason.
e. The District reserves the right to monitor all Internet access, including all e-mail, through use of the District’s system. The District specifically reserves the right to revoke access and/or take other appropriate disciplinary action, with respect to any user who violates this Authorized Use Policy.
f. Users are responsible for the use of their individual access account(s) and are expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent others from being able to use their account(s).
2. SYSTEM RESPONSIBILITIES
a. The Superintendent, or his/her designee, will serve as the coordinator to oversee Internet access via use of District systems.
b. District staff is responsible for the dissemination of this Acceptable Use Policy and will work with schools and offices to enforce this policy.
c. The District reserves the right to revise this Acceptable Use Policy as it deems necessary.
3. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
a. The District makes no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, for the services provided through its systems. The District will not be responsible for any data loss resulting from delays, nondeliveries, misdeliveries or service interruptions caused by its own negligence or user error. Further, the District specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through or stored on the system.
b. Users will indemnify and hold the District harmless from any losses sustained by the District as a result of intentional misuse of the system by user.
4. FILTERING OF CONTENT
a. The District has installed Internet filtering systems in an attempt to block user access to inappropriate and/or harmful text on the Internet. The system operates by actively scanning website addresses, content, e-mail, and other documents for objectionable material. Objectionable words and concepts are pre-determined by the District. When the software finds any suchobjectionable words or concepts, it denies the user access to them.
5. REGULATION OF ACCESS
a. Review of Access Privileges
i. The District will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any lawful investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the District system.
ii. The District may revoke Internet access in its sole discretion. If a student’s access is revoked, the District and/or school will ensure that the student nonetheless continues to have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the educational program.
iii. Student disciplinary actions should be tailored to meet specific concerns related to the violation and to assist the student in gaining the self-discipline necessary to behave appropriately on anelectr onic network. If the alleged violation also involves a violation of other provisions of the student disciplinary code, the violation will be handled in accordance with the applicable provision of the code.
iv. Employee violations of this Acceptable Use Policy will be handled by appropriate discipline policies and procedures.
i. As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the District will monitor students’ online activities. Such monitoring may lead to discovery that the user has violated or may be violating the District’s Acceptable Use Policy, the student disciplinary code, or the law and reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action.
ii. The District also reserves the right to monitor other users' (e.g., non students) online activities.
iii. The District reserves the right to employ and review the results of software that searches, monitors and/or identifies potential violations of the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
iv. Users should be aware that their personal files may be discoverable in court and administrative proceedings and in accordance with public records laws.
v. System users have no expectation of privacy in the contents of their personal files and records of their online activity while using District systems.
c. Notification and Responsibility
i. As appropriate, the District will provide students and parents with guidelines and instructions for student safety while using the Internet.
ii. The District's Acceptable Use Policy contains restrictions on accessing inappropriate material and student use generally will be supervised. However, there is a wide range of material available on the Internet, some of which may or may not fit the particular values of the students. It is not practically possible for the District to monitor and enforce a wide range of social values in student use of the Internet. Further, the District recognizes that parents bear primary responsibility for transmitting their particular set of family values to their children. The District will encourage parents to specify to their child(ren) what material is and is notacceptable for their child(ren) to access through the District system.
6. USAGE LIMITATIONS
a. Personal Safety Violations for Students
i. District employees and student users will not post or transmit photographs or personal contact information about themselves or other people without prior written parental consent from the parent of the student whose information is being posted. Personal contact information includes, but is not limited to, home address, telephone number, school name, school address and classroom.
ii. Student users will not agree to meet with someone they have met online without their parent's approval and participation.iii. Student users will promptly report to their teacher or other school employee any message they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.
b. Illegal Activities
i. Users shall not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the District system or to any other computer system through the District system, or go beyond their authorized access. This prohibition includes intentionally seeking information about passwords belonging to other users, modifying passwords belonging to other users, or attempting to log in through another person's account.
ii. Users may not attempt to access, copy, or modify another user’s files. These actions are not permitted and may be illegal, even if only for the purposes of "browsing.”
iii. Users shall not attempt to subvert network security, alter, impair, destroy the functionality of the network or bypass restrictions set by network administrators. Users are also prohibited from destroying data by spreading computer viruses or vandalizing data, software or equipment. The District has installed anti-virus software on each workstation and updates, including "virus definitions," are performed regularly by the District.
iv. Users shall not use the District resources to engage in any other illegal act, such as arranging for a drug sale, purchasing alcohol for a minor, engaging in criminal gang activity, threatening the safety of a person, etc.
c. System Security Violations
i. Users are responsible for the use of their individual account and should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others from being able to use their account. Under no conditions should a user provide their password to another person.
ii. Users will immediately notify a teacher or administrator if they identify a possible security problem (such as disclosure of their password to another person).
d. Inappropriate Language and Behavior
i. Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to public messages, private messages, andmaterial posted on Web pages.
ii. Users will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, abusive ordisrespectful language.
iii. Users will not post information that could interfere with the educational process or cause adanger of disruption in the educational environment.
iv. Users will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.
v. Users will not harass another person. Harassment is persistently acting in a manner thatdistresses or annoys another person.vi. Users will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person ororganization.
e. Privacy Violations
i. Users must not repost a message that was sent to them privately without permission of theperson who sent them the message.
ii. Users must not post private information about another person.
f. Resource Limits
i. Users will use the system only for educational and professional activities. Staff may not use the Internet for personal use during working hours, except that they may engage in incidental use during their duty-free time (e.g., staff may be permitted to use the Internet for purchasing a book for personal use during their lunch hour, but may not operate a business or engage in any profit-making activity at any time).
ii. Users will not download large files unless absolutely necessary. If necessary, users will download the file at a time when the system is not being heavily used and immediately remove the file from the system computer to their personal computer or diskette.
iii. Users will not post chain letters or engage in "spamming.” Spamming is sending an annoying or unsolicited message to many people, except that an unsolicited message sent by a supervisor, relating to work activity does not constitute spamming.
iv. Users will check their e-mail frequently and delete unwanted messages promptly. Users will limit the size of their mailboxes to a district-identified storage limit. The system will notify users when they are approaching the limit and users will not be able to send e-mail once they have exceeded a defined limit. However, users may still be able to receive and view e-mail upon exceeding the limit.
v. Users will not send e-mail containing commercial links unless the link is predominantly instructional in nature.
g. Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
i. Users will not plagiarize works that they find on the Internet. Plagiarism is taking the ideas or writings of others and presenting them as if they were original to the user.
ii. Users will respect the rights of copyright owners and not infringe on those rights. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual inappropriately reproduces a work that is protected by a copyright including but not limited to digitization and distribution of photographs from websites, magazines, books and other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music and the installation of copyrighted software for which the District or the end user does not have an active license to us. If a work contains language that specifies acceptable use of that work, the user should follow the expressed requirements. If the user is unsure whether or not they can use a work, they should request permission from the copyright owner.
h. Access to Inappropriate Material
i. Users will not use the District system to access material that is profane or obscene (e.g., pornography), that advocates illegal or dangerous acts, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other people (e.g., hate literature). For students, a special exception maybe made if the purpose is to conduct research and is approved in writing by both the teacher and the parent.
ii. Users may not utilize peer-to-peer file sharing applications, networks, or execute programs for the purpose of downloading or exchanging copyrighted works.
iii. If users inadvertently access such information, they should immediately disclose the inadvertent access in a manner specified by their school or central division office. This will protect users against an allegation that they have intentionally violated the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
iv. Users will not use the Internet for advertising, promotion, commercial purposes or similar objectives, except that employees may make personal purchases online during their duty-free(e.g., lunch) time.
v. Users will not use the Internet to conduct for-profit business activities or to engage in religious activities. Users are also prohibited from engaging in any non-governmental-related fund raising or public relations activities such as solicitation for religious purposes, lobbying for political purposes, or soliciting votes. The District is not responsible for this or any other commercial activity users engage in.
7. WEB PAGES
a. All web sites representing the District are deemed official publications of the District and are therefore subject to District guidelines and regulations.
b. All District web publications, sites, pages and content are property of West Covina Unified School District.
c. Protected student information is not to be displayed in any District web pages including name, address, school name, grade, class, photograph, writing or other creative work, or any other personally identifiable information and student educational record. Posting of student images and personal information (including names) on any District web page requires a Media Parent Permission Slip form. This form must be signed by the student’s parents or guardian, or in the caseof students age 18 or above, the students themselves.
d. Roles and Responsibilities
i. Teachers/District Staff who publish and manage a District web page for instructional use are solely responsible for the content of that particular page. The use of District web pages for the purpose of publishing is a privilege, not a right, and misuse will result in the restriction or cancellation of the account. No student will be given or have access to publish on District webpages.
ii. The Site Master is responsible for keeping a binder of signed Web Publication Policies for all publishers in their school/office, for the content on the school’s/office’s web site and for monitoring all pages associated with their school/office. The Site Master at a school site is the principal or his/her designee; however, the principal is ultimately responsible for monitoring the content of the school web pages. The Site Master for a district office will have the same responsibility.
iii. The District Webmaster is responsible for managing the district’s and schools’ websites. The Superintendent or her designee will have the final administrative approval on issues concerning quality or propriety of web page material, appearance, or content and reserves the right to restrict access, block or remove pages or hyperlinks that do not comply with this policy.
e. Web Pages shall:
i. Meet academic standards of proper spelling, grammar and accuracy of information,
ii. Contain subject matter that relates to curriculum, instruction, school activities, and general information that is appropriate to the education program. Student work may be published only as it relates to a class project, course or other school related activity and with permission from parents or guardian.
f. Web Pages shall NOT:
i. Display photographs, videos or other images of any identifiable individual, other than a historical or public figure, without a signed release. Releases for students under the age of 18 must be signed by their parent or lawful guardian,
ii. Contain copyrighted or trademarked material belonging to others unless written permission todisplay such material has been obtained from the owner. There will be no assumption that thepublication of copyrighted material on a web site is within the fair use exemption.
iii. Contain personal contact information about students beyond that permitted by the school, district and parent.
iv. Post information that could endanger an individual, cause personal damage, or a danger ofservice disruption.
v. Contain web links to or advertisements for profit-making entities, such as publishers or other consumer goods purveyors, unless the site being linked to is predominantly instructional in nature (such as museum sites, encyclopedias, national parks, aquariums, literary organizations, etc.).
vi. Publish pages for other individuals or organizations not directly affiliated with the District.
8. E-MAIL POLICY
a. For electronic communication, staff and students are expected to use the District email systemwhen conducting school-related business.
b. “Acceptable” e-mail activities are those that conform to the educational purpose, goals, and missionof the District and to each user's job duties and responsibilities.
c. Users shall have no right to privacy while using District's Internet or e-mail system.
d. E-mail may not be used for personal purposes during working hours, except that users may engage in minimal e-mail activities for personal purposes, such as family correspondence, if the use does not diminish the employee's productivity, work product, or ability to perform services for the District.
e. “Unacceptable” use is defined generally as an activity using District hardware, software, or networks at any time that does not conform to the purpose, goals, and mission of the District and to each user's job duties and responsibilities. The following list, although not inclusive, provides some examples of unacceptable uses:
i. Opening unknown e-mail attachments or introducing computer worms or viruses. Users areprohibited from performing any activity that will or may cause the loss or corruption of data orthe abnormal use of computing resources (degradation of system/network performance).
ii. Using e-mail services for private commercial or business transactions and any activity meant tofoster personal gain.
iii. Using your District e-mail address to subscribe to websites or other Internet services that do not conform to your District duties and responsibilities.
iv. Conducting non-District activities such as solicitation for religious and political causes or not-for profit activities.
v. Transmitting threatening, offensive harassing information (messages or images) containing defamatory, abusive, obscene, pornographic, sexually oriented, racially offensive, or otherwise biased, discriminatory, or illegal material.
vi. Attempting to subvert network security, impair functionality of the network, or bypass restrictions set by the network administrators. Assisting others in violating these rules by sharing information or passwords.
vii. Sending unsolicited email messages and distributing "junk" mail, such as chain letters, advertisements, or unauthorized solicitations.
viii. Revealing, publicizing, using, or reproducing confidential or proprietary information regarding the District including, but not limited to, financial information, databases and/or the information contained therein, computer network access codes, staff or student information and business relationships.
ix. Users should contact their supervisors about questionable e-mail usage.
a. Blogging by students and staff, whether using the District’s property and systems or personal computer systems, is also subject to the terms and restrictions set forth in this Policy. Limited and occasional use of District’s systems to engage in blogging is acceptable, provided that it is done in a professional and responsible manner, does not otherwise violate District’s policy, is not detrimental to District’s best interests, and the safety of students and staff. Blogging from District’s systems is also subject to monitoring.
b. The District’s Confidential Information policy also applies to blogging. As such, staff and students are prohibited from revealing any confidential or proprietary information, trade secrets or any other material covered by District’s Confidential Information policy when engaged in blogging.
c. Student and staff shall not engage in any blogging that may harm or tarnish the image, reputation and/or goodwill of WCUSD and/or any of its students and staff. Students and staff are also prohibited from making any discriminatory, disparaging, defamatory or harassing comments when blogging or otherwise engaging in any conduct prohibited by District’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy.
d. Students and staff may also not attribute personal statements, opinions or beliefs to the District when engaged in blogging. If a student or staff is expressing his or her beliefs and/or opinions in blogs, the student and staff may not, expressly or implicitly, represent themselves as an employee, student or representative of the District. Employees assume any and all risk associated with blogging.
e. Apart from following all laws pertaining to the handling and disclosure of copyrighted or export controlled materials, WCUSD’s trademarks, logos and any other WCUSD intellectual property may also not be used in connection with any blogging activity.