IJNDB: Responsible Use Policy

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    Elevated teaching and learning through responsible use of technology is an integral part of the Falmouth Public Schools’ core values. The Falmouth Public Schools’ Computer Network, FalTech, is established for the educational and professional use of students, faculty, and staff ("Users"). FalTech is inclusive of all software, hardware, interconnectivity services, and Internet access used by the school community, including third party services that act as extensions of the District's internal network. This technology and Responsible Use Policy (the "Policy") is intended to govern Users with respect to FalTech and the Internet.

    The Falmouth Public Schools ("the District") grants access to and use of FalTech in accordance with this policy and the rules and expectations published elsewhere (i.e., Student/Parent/Guardian or Faculty Handbook). Users are expected to conduct themselves on FalTech in an appropriate fashion. Users who violate this Policy may jeopardize their access to FalTech and may be subject to further disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal. The District may also report offenders to applicable law enforcement agencies. Ultimately, students are responsible and accountable for all activities conducted while using FalTech.

    FalTech provides access to the Internet. While the District has taken precautions to restrict access to controversial materials on the Internet, it is impossible to fully control what materials may be accessed. The District believes that accessing valuable information and engaging in interaction available on the Internet advances our educational goals. The smooth operation of FalTech relies upon the proper conduct of all Users.

    To develop socially conscious and responsible Users, the Falmouth Public Schools is committed to explicit instruction for students beginning in Kindergarten. Our focus is on digital citizenship, and students annually engage in lessons devoted to shaping their habits and decision-making that is further developed and assessed through continued instruction in their core subjects. Falmouth Public Schools’ concerted efforts foster students’ learning, skill development, and awareness as we empower them to be competitive in college and career as well as become active in the global community as citizens who understand the actions and reactions of the world around them.

    Responsible Use and Prohibited Actions

    The use of FalTech is a privilege, not a right. The use of an account must be consistent with the educational objectives of the District. The Technology Department in collaboration with the Superintendent's Office deems what is inappropriate use and takes necessary action. The District, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to determine what conduct constitutes a violation of this Policy and the discipline for any such violation.

    In addition, use of any other Internet connected resource must comply with the rules appropriate for that resource. Transmission of any material in violation of any US or state law or regulation is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, material protected by copyright, threatening or obscene material, or material protected by trade practice. Use of FalTech for commercial activities, product advertisement, or political lobbying is prohibited. Use of FalTech and the Internet must be consistent with this and all other District policies and practices. Any violations may result in the suspension or loss of an account, Internet access, or other forms of disciplinary action.

    Limited Expectation of Privacy

    The District routinely monitors usage of FalTech and may review any communications on its systems. The District is able to override all passwords. Users do not have a privacy right in the contents of their computer system, including messages sent, received, or stored on the email systems or in their use of the Internet. Users should have no expectation that the ability to choose a password for a system in any way limits the ability or right of the District to monitor all activity.

    Always a School Employee

    The lines between “public and private” and “professional and personal” are blurred in the digital world. Even when including a disclaimer or using a different username, an employee will always be considered a District employee. Whether it is clearly communicated or not and even if it is not the employee’s intent, the employee could be identified as working for and/or representing the school in what is said or posted online. Therefore, when writing personal posts, employees should always post in the first person singular (e.g., I and me) and make it clear that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the District.

    Security

    Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many Users. Users may not have unauthorized access to another's files on FalTech. The following guidelines help maintain FalTech security:

    • Users may not allow others access to their accounts or share passwords with anyone other than a parent/guardian.
    • Inappropriate attempts to gain unauthorized access will result in immediate consequences.
    • Any User who believes they have identified a security problem on the District's Computer Network, FalTech, must notify a teacher or an administrator immediately.

    Inappropriate Access

    Users may not access any Internet site(s) that contains information inappropriate for educational purposes while on FalTech. Not all of the information freely available on the Internet is reliable or helpful. Users must evaluate both the source of the information and the information itself to determine its validity, appropriateness, and usefulness.

    The Internet provides the means to communicate directly with others via “instant” or “private” messaging applications, video conferencing programs, and other means. There are many applications and software technologies that allow for the free exchange of files between computers over the Internet. Not all of these methodologies are appropriate for an educational environment as outlined in this document. Therefore, Users must apply knowledge and skills from Falmouth Public Schools’ Digital Citizenship Program.

    Downloading or loading software directly onto District computers must also demonstrate application of knowledge and skills from Falmouth Public Schools’ Digital Citizenship Program. There is an enormous quantity and variety of free software available on the Internet that is not safe for or applicable to educational purposes. Further, some software and applications may negatively impact the functionality of FalTech.

    Prohibited Access

    • Offensive material. Content that is in poor taste or could be considered obscene; abusive or sexually explicit language, racist, illegal, harassing or inflammatory.
    • Dangerous material. Content that provides direction in the construction of explosives or similar devices, the use of firearms, or instruction or practices that could injure the students themselves or others.
    • Inappropriate contacts. Materials that can lead to contact with strangers who could potentially threaten the student's health or safety.

    Additionally, anyone who inadvertently accesses an inappropriate site must immediately leave the site and is expected to report it to their teacher or an administrator. If a student is uncertain as to whether or not a site's material might be considered inappropriate, the student should consult their teacher or a member of the administrative staff for clarification.

    Hardware

    The District’s devices are managed in order to allow for Users to access FalTech primarily for educational purposes. Users must not attempt to modify the existing hardware configuration of a District device under the direction of a faculty or staff member. Users are responsible for reporting any damage discovered on District computers to the appropriate District employee immediately.

    Plagiarism

    Information obtained from the Internet as part of a school assignment must be attributed to its source, using a standard bibliography notation. Users may not violate a copyrighted source or otherwise use another person's intellectual property without his or her prior approval or proper citation.

    User Expectations

    Each User is responsible for all activity that occurs under the user’s account or on assigned devices.

    Users may share personal information (e.g., addresses, phone numbers) onto to known and trusted peers. Users may not give out any personal information (e.g., username, passwords) about other people. Users may not use FalTech for commercial purposes or political lobbying.

    Summary of Prohibited Conduct

    The following offers an illustrative series of many prohibited User actions but is not an exhaustive list.

    • Download any files, especially music and videos, from the Internet, unless the material is free for commercial use and royalty free.
    • Disable or modify any running tasks or services.
    • Play games, unless directed to by a faculty or staff member for educational purposes, at any time on FalTech, including Internet-based games.
    • Attempting to bypass content filtering systems.
    • Remove or deface Inventory Control Tags attached to the systems.
    • Disrupt its use by other individuals by connecting to other District networks to perform any illegal or inappropriate act, such as an attempt to gain unauthorized access to other systems on the network.
    • The deliberate infecting of a computer with a “virus.”
    • Attempts at unethical hacking computers using any method.

    Consequences

    Intentional damage of computer hardware, computer software (including the deletion of programs and/or files), and computer networks may result in the User being responsible for the current repair and replacement cost of the damaged software and/or equipment.

    The Director of Information Technology or designee may close an account at any time as required. The administration, faculty and staff of the District may make a request to the Director of Information Technology or designee to deny, revoke or suspend specific user accounts based upon violations of this policy.

    Bullying

    Users may not use FalTech for purposes of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of others.

    Bullying is the repeated use of a written, verbal, or electronic expression; physical act or gesture; or any combination thereof, directed at another student that:

    • Causes physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student's property.
    • Places the student in reasonable fear of physical injury or of damage to property.
    • Creates a hostile environment at school for the student.
    • Infringes on the rights of the student at school.
    • Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

    A hostile environment is a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the student's education.

    Cyberbullying involves an act of bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including but not limited to electronic mail, internet communications, or instant messages. Cyberbullying also includes the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person; or, the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions described in the definition of bullying. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions described in the definition of bullying.

    The District shall, at its sole discretion, determine whether such conduct violates this Policy and any other policies of the District.

    Google’s G Suite for Education Responsible Use

    While for educational purposes, Users may use G Suite for Education for personal use subject to the restrictions outlined within this section. Student accounts are limited to communication within the District (i.e., faculty, administrators, students).

    Privacy

    The District’s technology staff and administrators have access to User email accounts for monitoring purposes. Users should have a limited expectation of privacy within the Google’s G Suite educational programming.

    Limited Personal Use

    Users may use G Suite for Education tools for personal projects but may not use them for:

    • Unlawful activities
    • Accessing or exchanging inappropriate sexual or other offensive content
    • Threatening another person
    • Misrepresenting the District or its staff or students

    Access Restriction

    Access to G Suite for Education is considered a privilege afforded to students and staff. The District maintains the right to immediately suspend access and use of G Suite for Education when there is reason to believe that the User violated the law or District policy. Alleged violations will be referred to an administrator for further investigation.

    Social Networking Sites

    It is important that use of social media and networking sites, as well as personal websites and blogs, does not damage the District's reputation or cause harm to the District's employees, students, or families. Users’ access of non-District social networking sites is prohibited on District provided devices. The District may monitor the use of social media by students especially when a problem is brought to the attention of an administrator.

    Students may be disciplined for social media misuse or communication occurring during off hours. All members of the community should understand that the District takes seriously and reserves the right to address any inappropriate use of social media that may impact the educational environment. All Users should exercise care in setting appropriate boundaries between their personal and public online behavior, understanding that what is private in the digital world often has the possibility of becoming public, even without their knowledge or consent.

    The District strongly encourages all employees, students, and families to carefully review the privacy settings on any social media and networking sites they use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linkedln) and exercise care and good judgment when posting content and information on such sites. When using a social media site, an employee may not include current students as “friends,” “followers,” or any other similar terminology used by various sites. If an employee has a community that extends to persons who are parents/guardians, alums, or other members of the school community, the employee must exercise good judgment about any content that is shared on the site.

    Employees, students, and families should adhere to the following guidelines, which are consistent with the District's community standards on harassment, student relationships, conduct, professional communication, and confidentiality:

    • Users should not make statements that would violate any of the District's policies, including its policies concerning discrimination or harassment;
    • Users must uphold the District's value of respect for the individual and avoid making defamatory or disparaging statements about the District, its employees, its students, or their families; and
    • Staff may not disclose any confidential information obtained during the course of his/her/their employment concerning the District, administrators, organizations, students and/or their families.

    The District has a commitment to provide a safe and supportive learning environment as well as maintain a positive reputation in the community. If employee or student activity on a social networking site, blog, or personal website violates District policy or otherwise has a detrimental impact on the learning environment, the District may request that the employee or student cease such activity. Depending on the severity of the incident, the employee or student may be subject to disciplinary action.

    Annual Notification and Acknowledgement

    At the beginning of each school year, or upon hire or enrollment, notification and acknowledgement are required.

    Disclaimer

    Due to the rapidly changing technology environment, the District reserves the right to determine that any action or conduct not listed in this Policy document is inappropriate, the District may impose disciplinary action accordingly.

Last Modified on June 29, 2020