Students 129.1: RESPONSIBLE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS

I. PURPOSE/INTENT: 

Technology resources in the Manchester School District support the educational and administrative activities of the District. The use of these resources is a privilege that is extended to staff and students of the Manchester School District community. As a user of district technology, staff and students have access to valuable resources, to internal and external networks, and in some instances to secure data. It is expected that all users of technology resources behave in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner.

The Manchester School District realizes that part of 21st century learning is adapting to the changing methods of communication. The importance of teachers, students, and parents engaging, collaborating, learning, and sharing in these digital environments is a part of 21st century learning. MSD staff has the responsibility to present a monitored, supervised environment providing graduated freedoms from younger to older students based on student maturity. Students will develop the digital citizenship skills needed to participate in online interaction, make wise choices, and be cautious in an online community.

Responsible Use of Technology means respecting the rights of others, respecting the integrity of technology resources, and respecting any and all license and contractual agreements. This policy establishes responsibilities and guidelines for the use of all technology resources in the District as well as the use of personal devices within the District.

It is the responsibility of the user to familiarize him/herself with and abide by the rules of this Responsible Use Policy and make appropriate use of the available resources. While it is not the intention of District personnel to be intrusive, users are advised that authorized District personnel monitor system activity.

Students who are in violation of district policies will be held accountable in accordance with the Manchester School District Student Code of Conduct. Staff who are in violation of district policies will be held accountable in accordance with that staff member’s terms of employment. Disciplinary action may include the restriction or loss of network privileges. A serious violation may result in more serious consequences, which may include one or more of the following: suspension, expulsion, or termination from the Manchester School District as well as financial restitution for damages. Individuals are also subject to federal, state and local laws governing interactions that occur on the Internet. This policy may be subject to change as state and federal laws develop and change.

II. DEFINITIONS:

All staff and students are reminded that personal information posted on the Internet is not truly private as it creates a permanent record that may be retrieved and retained, and thus any expectation of full privacy may be unwarranted. Users are advised to consider their digital footprint as it may impact  future employment or educational opportunities. Digital information may leave a long-lasting or even permanent record with the possibility of becoming public without your knowledge or consent.

III. Universal Guidelines Regarding Intranet/Internet Access:

Intranet/Internet access is available to staff and students in the Manchester School District. The Manchester School District is committed to using the Intranet/Internet as a global source of information within its educational programs. Our goal is to provide Intranet/Internet service to promote educational excellence through communication, resource sharing, innovation, and research. It is our intention to provide an environment that is safe and appropriate for the maturity level and needs of student users.

Intranet/Internet access on school equipment by students during school hours will be supervised by District personnel. Students in grades K-5 will use the Intranet/Internet under close teacher or designee supervision, while students in grades 6-12 will be supervised and monitored at an appropriate level.

All students in the District will be permitted to access the Manchester School District Intranet/Internet computer network. The District requires that all students, and parents/guardians read this policy carefully and discuss it before the beginning of each school year. Parents of students under the age of 18 who wish to exclude their student from gaining access to the Intranet/Internet on the District’s network shall fill out an Internet Use Opt-out form at the beginning of each school year. Opt-out forms shall be available in a school’s office.

In addition, by reading this policy and by permitting students to access the District’s network, parents/guardians agree to supervise and monitor their student and to report prohibited use to the District when such use is facilitated by District infrastructure, programs, applications, equipment, or materials. Parents/guardians further agree not to use or access their student’s account other than for supervising and monitoring purposes and to ensure that such use is in accordance with state and federal law and District policy.

The Intranet/Internet is a fluid environment where content is continually changing, and where the authenticity and validity of information sometimes can be questionable. Some material on the Intranet/Internet may contain items that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate or potentially offensive to some people. The Manchester School District has taken precautions to restrict access to controversial materials by using an Intranet/Internet filtering program. The District also creates logs of activity on the network. While our intent is to make Intranet/Internet access available to further educational goals and objectives, it is impossible to filter all Internet access, and students may find ways to access controversial materials. It is the responsibility of the individual to use the Intranet/Internet in a legal, ethical, responsible, and considerate manner.

For these reasons, it is necessary to establish guidelines that are reflective of the District's educational objectives for all Intranet/Internet users. Therefore, all responsible use of the Intranet/Internet shall be in support of communication, research and education consistent with the purposes of the Manchester School District and shall not violate state and federal law, as well as school policies and standards of behavior.

The Manchester School District makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. The Manchester School District will not be responsible for any damages a user suffers. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, mid-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by its own negligence or the user's errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at the user's own risk. The Manchester School District specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy and quality of information obtained through its services.

IV. Guidelines Specific to the Use of Web-based Platforms:

MSD guidelines encourage students and staff to work, learn, and share information collaboratively using Web-based platforms. To maintain a safe environment for students, online activities should take place within district-managed platforms whenever possible. When other platforms are used, staff will understand the privacy settings, options, and implementation strategies before using web-based tools with students and shall review guidelines with students prior to assigning projects. Staff wishing to pilot new technologies shall follow guidelines posted on the Technology Resource Center website at trc.mansd.org.

The growing use of social media (online posting and collaboration) should be considered an extension of the classroom. School policy and consequences extend to the online learning environment. It is important to create an atmosphere of trust and individual accountability, keeping in mind that information produced by MSD staff and students is a reflection on the entire District.  The Manchester School District is committed to providing a safe learning environment. Therefore:

V. Guidelines Specific to the Use of Personal Devices in Schools (BYOD/BYOT):

The Manchester School District will allow staff and students to bring personal electronic internet enabled devices for educational use provided that a school’s Administrator and the Technology Resource Center agree that the school’s network will support such use. Staff and students who bring personal devices to school shall also adhere to the following:

Connectivity and operation issues of personal devices are not supported by the MSD Technology Resource Center. Individuals should contact the device manufacturer or their carrier for operating system, network, or hardware-related issues. 

VI. Irresponsible and Unacceptable Uses of Technology

Examples of unacceptable use may include, but are not limited to:

First Reading IT: 5/12/15

Second Reading and Adoption BOSC: 5/26/15