Technology Acceptable Use Policy

The Seven Hills Charter Public School (SHCPS) District shall provide access for employees and students to the system/network for limited educational purposes. Educational purposes shall be defined as classroom activities, career and professional development, and high quality research or self discovery activities of an educational nature. The purpose of the system/network is to assist in preparing students for success in life and work by providing access to a wide range of information and the ability to communicate with others. The system/network will be used to increase communication (staff, parent, and student), enhance productivity, and assist staff in upgrading existing skills and acquiring new skills through a broader exchange of information. The system/network will also be utilized to provide information to the community, including parents, governmental agencies, and businesses. The purpose of this policy is to meet the demands of state and federal law and to provide guidelines for legal, moral and ethical use by our students and staff.  Staff/Students should be aware that all rules of public record and confidentiality apply in the digital world.

Availability: Use of this Network is a privilege, not a right. The superintendent and/or technology administration shall implement, monitor, and evaluate the district’s system/network for instructional and administrative purposes. All users shall be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding of all administrative regulations and procedures governing use of the system and shall agree in writing to comply with such regulations and procedures. Non-compliance with applicable regulations and procedures may result in suspension or termination of user privileges and other disciplinary actions consistent with the policies of the SHCPS District violations of law may result in criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary action by the SHCPS District.

Acceptable Use: The superintendent and/or technology administration shall develop and implement administrative regulations, procedures, and user agreements, consistent with the purposes and mission of the SHCPS District, as well as with law and policy governing copyright.

Monitored Use: Electronic mail transmissions, including all messages and information, sent or retrieved over the Internet, are the property of the SHCPS District and shall not be considered confidential. Copies of all information created, sent, or retrieved are stored on the District’s back-up files. While the District does not plan to review cache files or back-up files on a regular basis, the District reserves the right to access and monitor all messages and files on the computer system as it deems necessary and appropriate in the ordinary course of its business for purposes including, but not limited to, ensuring proper use of resources and conducting routine network maintenance. Where appropriate, communications, including text and images may be disclosed to law enforcement officials or other third parties without prior consent of the sender or receiver.

As a result all incoming and outgoing messages and attachments are subject to being accessed, reviewed, disclosed or monitored.  This monitoring will be done at the sole discretion of the school’s superintendent and/or the technology administration during ordinary course of business, at any time, with or without notice, notwithstanding any password.

Liability: The SHCPS District shall not be liable for users’ inappropriate use of electronic resources or violations of copyright restrictions, mistakes or negligence, or costs incurred by users.  This may include such acts as downloading of pirated material.  If any requests are made of SHCPS to provide information on users resulting from the above noted acts, this information will be provided. The SHCPS District shall not be responsible for ensuring the accuracy or usability of any information found on the system/network, nor be liable for any loss, or corruption of data resulting while using the Internet. Inclusive, Staff and Students are responsible, and accountable for financial damages that occur with any SHCPS technology equipment.

The system/network MAY NOT be used to:

-Create or disseminate any offensive or disruptive messages. (Including, but not limited to material which contains sexual implications, racial or ethnic slurs, or other comments that offensively address someone’s age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry or disability, or to communicate improper messages or material that is defamatory, derogatory, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate.)

-Violate any law, regulation, or school policy.  Staff/Student must not visit sexually explicit, offensive or otherwise inappropriate Web sites and must comply with all copyright laws.  Staff must comply with the regulations stated in the school’s Written Information Security Plan (WISP) in regard to protecting individuals’ personal information. Users are strictly forbidden from “hacking” or from knowingly introducing electronic worms and/or viruses to the system.

Staff/Students are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette that includes, but are not limited to, the following: Be polite, use appropriate, non-abusive language (The staff is cautioned about and students prohibited from revealing personal addresses, credit card numbers, or phone numbers)

For Students, violations of any of the above guidelines may result in: The loss of access and/or additional disciplinary action as deemed appropriate governed by Administration. In order for a student to use the school’s Internet connection, the student and parent must read these guidelines and both parties will sign the agreement and the student will return it to school. Receipt of these guidelines will be acknowledged in the student handbook.  Parents who do not want their child to use the Internet during school hours must notify the school Head of School in writing.

Sanctions
  1. Violations of the above rules will result in a temporary or permanent ban on internet/computer use.
  2. Your parents/caregivers will be informed.
  3. Additional disciplinary action may be added in line with existing practice on inappropriate language or behavior.
  4. When applicable, police or local authorities may be involved.
  5. If necessary, external agencies such as Social Networking or Email Member sites may be contacted and informed.
For Staff, a violation of this policy may result in: Disciplinary action ranging from a verbal warning or suspension of system privileges up to discharge from employment.  For both when applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.

Bullying/Cyberbullying

“Bullying”, the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that:

(i)  Causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property;

(ii)  Places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property;

(iii) Creates a hostile environment at school for the victim;

(iv)  Infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or

(v)   Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of this section, bullying shall include cyber-bullying.

“Cyber-bullying”, bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limited to:

Any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.

Cyber-bullying shall also include

(i) The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or;

(ii) The knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.

Cyber-bullying shall also include:

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 enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.

Cyber-bullying takes different forms: threats and intimidation, harassment or ‘cyber-stalking’ (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages), vilification/defamation; exclusion or peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorized publication of private information or images, and manipulation.

Cyber-bullying, is in all essence, bullying. ANY off site or on school property evidence of cyber-bullying will involve disciplinary action set forth by SHCPS District, Technology Department, and Law Enforcement if necessary. SHCPS Parents and students have the responsibility, and are accountable for being educated in these areas, and be fully aware of its warning signs of Cyber-bullying and its consequences.

* There shall be a special commission to consist of 7 members:  1 of whom shall be the attorney general or a designee who shall chair the commission; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; and 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Association of Independent Schools in New England who represents a Massachusetts school, for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to bullying and cyber-bullying. 

The commission shall review the General Laws to determine if they need to be amended in order to address bullying and cyber-bullying; provided, further, that the commission shall also investigate parental responsibility and liability for bullying and cyber-bullying.  The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out such recommendations, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the chairs of the joint committee on education, the chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary, and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before June 30, 2011.

Social Media Use: The term social media describes media that is posted by the user and can take many different forms. Some types of social media are forums, message boards, blogs, wikis and podcasts. Examples of Social media applications include Google, Facebook and YouTube.

The misuse of social media by any staff member at SHCPS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, and will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. SHCPS District will be in complete compliance with the laws applicable to the misuse of Social Media.

As an employee of SHCPS, you will, AT ALL TIMES:

–  Refrain from disclosure of employer’s confidential information

–  Prohibit the use of company logos, or names, in blogs, or social media (e.g. no photos in company uniform, etc…no company details etc…)

–  NOT access and use social media during working hours

–  Bring any work-related complaints/concerns to the HR/Business Department

–  NOT use SHCPS corporate email as a link to social media sites

–  Restrict the posting of knowingly false information about another on social media

–  Avoid discussing controversial topics online, remember, that anything online IS public

–  When blogging, add a disclaimer that “the views expressed on the blog are not the views of our school”

–  Using social media for professional recommendations is prohibited. Only personal recommendations may be used.

–  Refrain from using social media to engage in personal relationships with current students
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