The school board has approved several new policies that have a direct impact on you. I have underlined the parts of particular importance. The administration may not widely publicize these rules, but will certainly enforce them. While they don’t make for very interesting reading, I strongly recommend that you take the time to become familiar with them. Some of the recently adopted policies are revisions of older policies, while others are completely new.
The full list of board policies and administrative guidelines is at http://www.neola.com/parchment-mi/
7542 – NETWORK ACCESS FROM PERSONALLY-OWNED COMPUTERS AND/OR OTHER WEB-ENABLED DEVICES
District Board members, employees, students, as well as contractors, and/or agents, of the District may use their web-enabled device of any type to access the District’s Internet while they are on-site at any District facility, provided the computer and web-enabled device meets the established standards for equipment used to access said network, and the individual granted access complies, without exception, with the established standards for appropriate use of the Internet.
The necessary standards for connecting to the Internet shall be developed. Access to the standards for connecting to the District’s server and network using a personal computer or web-enabled device of any sort shall be provided upon request for all to whom this policy applies.
Establishment, and subsequent enforcement, of the standards is intended to minimize the potential exposure to the District from damages, including, but not limited to, the loss of sensitive District data, illegal access to confidential data, damage to the District’s intellectual property, damage to the District’s public image, and damage to the District’s critical internal systems, from unauthorized use.
Any Board member, employee, student, contractor, vendor, and/or agent of the District who violates the established standards, who violates the District’s Acceptable Use policy, or who accesses the server and network without authorization may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, if a student, termination of employment if a District employee, denial of access if a Board member, or cancellation of the contract with the District if a contractor, vendor or agent. Further, the Board member, employee, student, contractor, vendor, and/or agent of the District who violates the established standards or who violates the District’s Acceptable Use policy may be denied access to the District’s server and network in the future.
7543 – REMOTE ACCESS TO THE DISTRICT’S NETWORK
Access to the District’s Website is encouraged.
The Board encourages employees, parents, students, and community members to check the District’s website regularly for changes to these resources and for the addition of other resources. Some resources may require a user name and password, or a login procedure due to the personally identifiable nature of the information provided through that resource (e.g., the gradebook program and e-mail system). If a user name and password, or login procedure, is necessary to access a resource, information shall be provided on the website explaining who is eligible for a user name and password, how to obtain a user name and password, and detailed instructions concerning the login process.
Access to the District Network through Server
District employees, as well as contractors and/or agents of the District, are permitted to use their personally-owned or District-owned computer or workstation and/or web-enabled devices of any type to remotely (i.e. away from District property and facilities) access the District’s server and thereby connect to the District’s Network. This policy is limited to remote access connections that are used to do work on behalf of or for the benefit of the District, including, but not limited to, reading or sending e-mail and reviewing District-provided intranet web resources.
7545 – ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
The advancement of technology has provided many new ways for individuals to communicate with one another. These electronic communications include social networking sites, instant messaging, text messaging, e-mailing and photo-sharing, among others. Additional methods of electronic communication can be anticipated as the technology continues to evolve.
However, use of such technology must be approached with caution by School District employees. Given the nature of the communications, there is a significant potential both for inappropriate use and for alleged inappropriate use. To protect staff and students, the following restrictions are established:
A. Electronic communications with students should be appropriate in tone, content, and quantity. Stalking, harassment, or other unwelcome behaviors are prohibited, including any type of sexually suggestive comments, photos, or graphics.
B. Electronic communications with other employees should be appropriate in tone, content, and quantity. Stalking, harassment, or other unwelcome behaviors are prohibited.
The District may require the employee to produce records for review when there is reason to believe that this policy has been violated. Records within the District’s control may be reviewed periodically to assure that this policy is being complied with. These may include Internet logs, cellphone records, or other similar documentation.
Questions regarding acceptable electronic communications or unwelcomed electronic communications from someone associated with the District should be submitted to the District Technology Director.
7440.01 – VIDEO SURVEILLANCE AND ELECTRONIC MONITORING
The Board of Education authorizes the use of video surveillance and electronic monitoring equipment at various school sites throughout the District and on school buses. The video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment shall be used to protect Board property and assets from theft and vandalism, through deterrence and video documentation. The system is not designed nor intended to protect individuals from being victims of violent or property crimes, nor to detect other potentially illegal and undesirable activities that may occur, although information may be used as evidence in such cases.
The monitoring of actions and behavior of individuals who come onto school property is a significant factor in maintaining order and discipline and protecting students, staff, visitors, and school and student property. Video surveillance/electronic monitoring systems serve to complement other means being employed in the District to promote and foster a safe and secure teaching and learning environment for students and staff. The Board recognizes that the use of a video surveillance/electronic monitoring system does not replace the need for the ongoing vigilance of the school staff assigned by the building principal to monitor and supervise the school building. Rather, the video surveillance/electronic monitoring system serves as an appropriate and useful tool with which to augment or support the in-person supervision provided by staff. The building principal is responsible for verifying that due diligence is observed in maintaining general campus security.
The Superintendent is responsible for approving where and when to install and operate fixed-location video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment in the District. The building principals and administrators responsible for other facilities shall be responsible for recommending use of video surveillance/electronic monitoring. The determination of where and when to use video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment will be made in a nondiscriminatory manner. Video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment may be placed in common areas in school buildings (e.g., school hallways, entryways, the front office where students, employees and visitors are permitted to freely come and go, gymnasiums, cafeterias, libraries), the school parking lots and other outside areas, and in school buses. Except in extraordinary circumstances and with the written authorization of the Superintendent and consultation with District legal counsel before authorizing any placement, video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment shall not be used in areas where persons have a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas). The Superintendent shall carefully consider private offices (unless there is express consent given by the office occupant), or conference/meeting rooms, or in individual classrooms during instructional times. Security staff and administrators are authorized to carry and use portable video cameras when responding to incidents.
Any person who takes action to block, move, or alter the location and/or viewing angle of a video camera shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Legible and visible signs shall be placed at the main entrance to buildings and in the areas where video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment is in use. Signs shall be reasonably designed to notify people that their actions/behavior are being monitored/recorded. Additionally, the Superintendent is directed to annually notify parents and students via school newsletters and the Student Handbook, and staff via the Staff Handbook, of the use of video surveillance/electronic monitoring systems in their schools.
Any information obtained from video surveillance/electronic monitoring systems may only be used to support the orderly operation of the School District’s schools and facilities, and for law enforcement purposes, and not for any other purposes. As such, recordings obtained through the use of video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment may be used as evidence in any disciplinary proceedings, administrative proceeding or criminal proceeding, subject to Board policy and regulations. Further, such recordings may become a part of a student’s education record or staff member’s personnel file.
Ordinarily video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment will not be used to make an audio recording of conversation occurring on school grounds or property.
The Board will not use video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment to obtain information for the purpose of routine staff appraisal/evaluation or monitoring.
Recordings of students will be treated as confidential, to the extent allowed by law. Copies of video recordings containing personally identifiable information about students shall not be released except as required or authorized by law. Parents or guardians of minor students, and students who are eighteen (18) years of age or older, who are charged with disciplinary violations may view relevant portions of any video recording related to the charge, upon written request to the building principal, provided that viewing the recording does not violate State and/or Federal law (i.e., the privacy rights of any other students whose images appear on the recording). Likewise, school personnel may view relevant portions of any video relating to any disciplinary charge against them, upon written request to the building principal, provided that viewing the recording does not violate State and/or Federal law (i.e., the privacy rights of any students whose images appear on the recording). Absent a clear legal obligation, confidential recordings will only be released through subpoena or court order.
The Board shall maintain video surveillance/electronic monitoring recordings for a limited period. Any request to view a recording under this policy must be made within seven (7) days of the event/incident. Unless an investigation is being conducted, recordings shall be destroyed after fourteen (14) days. If, however, action is taken by the Board/administration, as a result of a formal complaint or incident, recordings shall be kept for a minimum of one (1) year from the date of the action taken. Recordings may also be kept beyond the normal retention period if they are going to be utilized for training purposes.
This policy does not address or cover instances where school officials record a specific event (e.g., a play, music performance, athletic contest, graduation, or Board meeting), or an isolated instance where a classroom is videotaped for educational or research purposes. Authorized videotaping for educational, instructional and/or research purposes is permitted and is not addressed by this policy.
The Superintendent is directed to develop administrative guidelines to address the use of video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment in school buildings, school buses and on property owned and/or operated by the Board.
Video surveillance is to be implemented in accordance with this policy and the related guidelines. The Board will not accept or tolerate the improper use of video surveillance/electronic monitoring equipment and will take appropriate action in any cases of wrongful use of this policy.
FERPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232g
34 C.F.R. 99.1-99.67
Title I of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986
18 U.S.C. 2510-2521
7540.04 – STAFF NETWORK AND INTERNET ACCEPTABLE USE AND SAFETY
Advances in telecommunications and other related technologies have fundamentally altered the ways in which information is accessed, communicated, and transferred in our society. Such changes are driving the need for educators to adapt their means and methods of instruction, and the way they approach student learning, to harness and utilize the vast, diverse, and unique resources available on the Internet. The Board of Education is pleased to provide Internet service to its staff. The Board encourages staff to utilize the Internet in order to promote educational excellence in our schools by providing them with the opportunity to develop the resource sharing, innovation, and communication skills and tools which will be essential to life and work in the 21st century. The Board encourages the faculty to develop the appropriate skills necessary to effectively access, analyze, evaluate, and utilize these resources. The instructional use of the Internet will be guided by the Board’s policy on Instructional Materials.
The District’s Internet system has not been established as a public access service or a public forum. The Board has the right to place restrictions on its use to assure that use of the District’s Internet system is in accord with its limited educational purpose. Staff use of the District’s computers, network, and Internet services (Network) will be governed by this policy and the related administrative guidelines, and any applicable employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. The due process rights of all users will be respected in the event there is a suspicion of inappropriate use of the Network. Users have no right or expectation to privacy when using the Network including, but not limited to, privacy in the content of their personal files, e-mails, and records of their online activity while on the Network.
The Internet is an electronic highway connecting computers and users in the District with computers and users worldwide. Access to the Internet enables staff members to explore thousands of libraries, databases, and bulletin boards, while exchanging messages with people throughout the world. Access to such an incredible quantity of information and resources brings with it, however, certain unique challenges and responsibilities.
First, and foremost, the Board may not be able to technologically limit access to services through the Board’s Internet connection to only those services and resources that have been authorized for the purpose of instruction, study and research related to the curriculum. Unlike in the past when educators and community members had the opportunity to review and screen materials to assess their appropriateness for supporting and enriching the curriculum according to adopted guidelines and reasonable selection criteria (taking into account the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities, and developmental levels of the students who would be exposed to them), access to the Internet, because it serves as a gateway to any publicly available file server in the world, will open classrooms and students to electronic information resources which have not been screened by educators for use by students of various ages.
Pursuant to Federal law, the Board has implemented technology protection measures which block/filter Internet access to visual displays that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors. The Board utilizes software and/or hardware to monitor online activity of staff members to restrict access to child pornography and other material that is obscene, objectionable, inappropriate and/or harmful to minors.
The technology protection measures may not knowingly be disabled at any time that students may be using the Network, if such disabling will cease to protect against access to materials that are prohibited under the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Any staff member who attempts to disable the technology protection measures will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
The Superintendent or Technology Director may disable the technology protection measure to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
The Superintendent is directed to prepare guidelines which address students’ safety and security while using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication, and prohibit disclosure of personal identification information of minors and unauthorized access (e.g., “hacking”), cyberbullying and other unlawful or inappropriate activities by minors online. Staff members are reminded that personally identifiable student information is confidential and may not be disclosed without prior written parental permission.
Building principals are responsible for providing training so that Internet users under their supervision are knowledgeable about this policy and its accompanying guidelines. The Board expects that staff members will provide guidance and instruction to students in the appropriate use of the Internet. Such training shall include, but not be limited to, education concerning appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. All Internet users are required to sign a written agreement to abide by the terms and conditions of this policy and its accompanying guidelines.
Staff members are responsible for good behavior on Board’s computers/network and the Internet just as they are in classrooms, school hallways, and other school premises and school sponsored events. Communications on the Internet are often public in nature. General school rules for behavior and communication apply. The Board does not sanction any use of the Internet that is not authorized by or conducted strictly in compliance with this policy and its accompanying guidelines. Users who disregard this policy and its accompanying guidelines may have their use privileges suspended or revoked, and disciplinary action taken against them. Users granted access to the Internet through the Board’s computers assume personal responsibility and liability, both civil and criminal, for uses of the Internet not authorized by this policy and its accompanying guidelines.
The Board designates the Superintendent and the Technology Coordinator as the administrators responsible for initiating, implementing, and enforcing this policy and its accompanying guidelines as they apply to the use of the Network and the Internet for instructional purposes.
P.L. 106-554, Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000
P.L. 110-385, Title II, Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act
18 U.S.C. 1460
18 U.S.C. 2246
18 U.S.C. 2256
20 U.S.C. 6777, 9134 (2003)
20 U.S.C. 6801 et seq., Part F, Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965,
as amended (2003)
47 U.S.C. 254(h), (1), Communications Act of 1934, as amended (2003)
5136 – WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICES
Students may possess wireless communication devices (WCDs) in school, on school property, during after school activities (e.g. extra-curricular activities) and at school-related functions, provided that during school hours and on school vehicles the WCDs are powered completely off (i.e., not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.
A “wireless communication device” is a device that emits an audible signal, vibrates, displays a message, or otherwise summons or delivers a communication to the possessor. The following devices are examples of WCDs: cellular and wireless telephones, pagers/beepers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), BlackBerrys/Smartphones, Wi-Fi-enabled or broadband access devices, two-way radios or video broadcasting devices, laptops, and other devices that allow a person to record and/or transmit, on either a real time or delayed basis, sound, video or still images, text, or other information. Students may not use WCDs on school property or at a school-sponsored activity to access and/or view Internet websites that are otherwise blocked to students at school. “Students may use WCDs while riding to and from school on a school bus or other vehicle provided by the Board or on a school bus or Board-provided vehicle during school-sponsored activities, at the discretion of the bus driver, classroom teacher, and/or sponsor/advisor/coach. Distracting behavior that creates an unsafe environment will not be tolerated.”
Also, during after school activities when directed by the administrator or sponsor, WCDs shall be powered completely off (not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.
The requirement that WCDs must be powered completely off will not apply in the following circumstances when the student obtains prior approval from the building principal:
A. The student has a special health circumstance (e.g. an ill family member, or his/her own special health condition).
B. The student is using the WCD for an educational or instructional purpose (e.g. taking notes, recording a class lecture, writing papers) with the teacher’s permission and supervision. However, the use of any communication functionality of the WCD is expressly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, wireless Internet access, peer-to-peer (ad-hoc) networking, or any other method of communication with other devices or networks. In no circumstances shall the device be allowed to connect to the District’s network. The preceding prohibitions do not apply to Board-owned and issued laptops, PDAs or authorized assistive technology devices.
Students are prohibited from using WCDs to capture, record or transmit the words (i.e. audio) and/or images (i.e., pictures/video) of any student, staff member or other person in the school or while attending a school-related activity, without express prior notice and explicit consent for the capture, recording or transmission of such words or images. Using a WCD to take or transmit audio and/or pictures/video of an individual without his/her consent is considered an invasion of privacy and is not permitted, unless authorized by the building principal. Students who violate this provision and/or use a WCD to violate the privacy rights of another person may have their WCD confiscated.
WCDs, including but not limited to those with cameras, may not be possessed, activated or utilized at any time in any school situation where a reasonable expectation of personal privacy exists. These locations and circumstances include but are not limited to locker rooms, shower facilities, restrooms, classrooms, and any other areas where students or others may change clothes or be in any stage or degree of disrobing or changing clothes. The building principal has authority to make determinations as to other specific locations and situations where possession of a WCD is absolutely prohibited.
No expectation of confidentiality will exist in the use of WCDs on school premises/property.
Students are prohibited from using a WCD in any way that might reasonably create in the mind of another person an impression of being threatened, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed or intimidated. See Policy 5517.01 – Bullying and Other Forms of Aggressive Behavior.
Students are also prohibited from using a WCD to capture and/or transmit test information or any other information in a manner constituting fraud, theft, cheating, or academic dishonesty. Likewise, students are prohibited from using their WCDs to receive such information.
Possession of a WCD by a student is a privilege that may be forfeited by any student who fails to abide by the terms of this policy, or otherwise engages in misuse of this privilege.
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the WCD. The building principal may also refer the matter to law enforcement if the violation involves an illegal activity (e.g. child pornography). Discipline will be imposed on an escalating scale ranging from a warning to an expulsion based on the number of previous violations and/or the nature of or circumstances surrounding a particular violation. If the WCD is confiscated, it will be released/returned to the student’s parent/guardian after the student complies with any other disciplinary consequences that are imposed. Any WCD confiscated by District staff will be marked in a removable manner with the student’s name and held in a secure location in the building’s central office until it is retrieved by the parent/guardian. WCDs in District custody will not be searched or otherwise tampered with unless school officials reasonably suspect that the search is required to discover evidence of a violation of the law or other school rules. Any search will be conducted in accordance with Policy 5771 – Search and Seizure. If multiple offenses occur, a student may lose his/her privilege to bring a WCD to school for a designated length of time or on a permanent basis.
A person who discovers a student in possession of or using a WCD in violation of this policy is required to report the violation to the building principal.
Students are personally and solely responsible for the care and security of their WCDs. The Board assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to WCDs brought onto its property, or the unauthorized use of such devices.
Parents/Guardians are advised that the best way to get in touch with their child during the school day is by calling the school office.