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Technology and Electronic Communications Device Acceptable Use Policy

Click here to view the Rockland Public Schools District Technology Plan

Rockland Public Schools believe technology, when used in a responsible, efficient, ethical and legal manner offers valuable, diverse, and unique resources to administrative staff, teachers and students that promote educational excellence. Rockland Public Schools is committed to helping students and staff use technology as an effective educational and administrative tool and to meet state and national educational standards. It is understood that students and staff will use technology in a mature and professional manner in accordance with the district’s acceptable use policy.

Technology and electronic communication device (ECD) users (administrative staff, faculty and students) are responsible for appropriate behavior and acceptable use when accessing technology in the schools. General school rules for conduct and communication apply to Internet and network use or the use of any ECD. This includes, but is not limited to computers, scanners, still and video cameras, cell phones, document cameras, SmartBoards, LCD projectors, PDAs, iPads, iPods, Kindles and all electronic devices. Use of technology shall be considered a privilege, not a right of each individual. Failure of a user to follow acceptable use standards may result in termination of technology privileges, appropriate disciplinary action as stated in school policies, and possible notification of law enforcement. The Rockland Public School District will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation related to illegal activities conducted within or through the school system.

Internet, email and phone use within the district should be used solely for educational purposes, although RPS recognizes that limited personal use, by administrative and faculty staff members, is authorized so long as it does not interfere with the employee’s duties or the policies of the Rockland Public Schools. It is important to recognize that traditional instructional resources and library materials can be screened with reasonable selection criteria. Technology that links to any public file server provides access to material that may not be considered educationally sound in the context of the school setting. Rockland Public Schools has taken precautions to restrict access to unacceptable information in accordance with CIPA rules by employing the use of a firewall/filter which is automatically and continuously updated to provide protection against current threats. However, it is important to understand that no solution is 100% perfect, and at times educational sites may be inadvertently blocked and conversely, inappropriate sites may be accessible.  Students will be provided with guidance and instruction in the appropriate use of technology resources including the Internet so that responsible choices can be made in the event that such a breach occurs. RPS will make no guarantee relating to the reliability of the data connection and therefore will not be held liable for any data loss or data corruption resulting while using the RPS network.

Students must obtain permission from a staff member each and every time they use technology equipment. Student use of technology will be permitted upon verification of the signing of the technology sign off form. The principal or designee will maintain signature records, and will be responsible for enforcing the Technology & Electronic Communication Device Acceptable Use Policy. Rockland Public Schools reserves the right to make amendments to the terms and conditions of this policy without notice.


1. User Personal Safety includes, but is not limited to:
• Users will not post personal information about themselves or others. Personal information includes, but is not limited to the following: name, address, profiles, telephone, date of birth, pictures, etc.
• Users will never arrange for meetings with anyone they have met online without the knowledge of the school and permission of a parent/guardian.
• Users will promptly disclose to their teacher or administrator any message they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.
• Users will not harass another person or engage in personal attacks, including those prejudicial or discriminatory in nature following the guidelines of the anti-bullying policy.

2. Respecting Technology Equipment:
• Users will exercise caution when handling technology devices.
• Users will follow guidelines for proper usage of equipment.
• Users will not use another person’s computer resources without authorization.
• Users will not knowingly destroy any Electronic Communication Device technology equipment including but not limited to keyboards, mice and peripherals.

3. RPS System Security:
• Users should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others from gaining access to their account(s). (Example: private strong passwords)  All users are responsible for their individual account(s).
• If an individual suspects a possible security breech, the user will immediately contact their teacher, the building principal or technology coordinator.
• Users will not disseminate passwords, codes, telephone numbers, account numbers, grades, or other individuals’ documents to unauthorized persons.
• The Rockland Public Schools’ network and related technologies are the property of the school department and its storage systems, subject to inspection by administration at any time. Users should not have a privacy expectation in the contents of their personal files on the district network including all ECDs or on web-based systems that Rockland Public Schools has contracted with to provide storage or services (Google Apps for Education/offsite backup facility).
• Rockland Public Schools reserves the right to monitor, or spot check, any Internet or ECD activities occurring on school equipment or accounts.

4. Illegal Activities (includes but not limited to):
• Users will not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the RPS system(s), or to go beyond their authorized access.
• Users will not deliberately attempt to disrupt the performance of any computer system or destroy data via a virus or any other means.
• Users will not use the RPS system to engage in any illegal act.
• Vandalism of any kind will require restitution for costs associated with hardware, software and system restoration and cancellation of ECD privileges.

5. Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement:
• Users will respect the rights of all copyright owners, recognizing that infringement occurs when a person reproduces a work that is protected by a copyright. Students should check with teachers and support staff regarding laws.
• Users will not plagiarize; therefore, they should cite all quotes, references, and sources. Acknowledging the source of a copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining reproduction rights.
• Users may reproduce copyrighted works within the limits of fair use, and using proper citation. Fair use is explained at:
• Users of Rockland Public Schools ECD’s will not install pirated software. All users should be aware that disseminating illegally obtained software (pirated) is a federal offense which is punishable by imprisonment, fine or both.

6. Technology Etiquette:
• Technology Etiquette includes, but is not limited to the following:
• Be polite! Do not get abusive in your messages to others.
• Exercise caution when using sarcasm and humor.  Without face-to-face communications, a joke or statement may be misunderstood.
• Show consideration and respect for others at all times.
• Be respectful of the rights of other network users and do not violate their privacy.
• Be aware of the intent and function of an individual or group before sending a message.
• Deliberately posing as a user other than yourself is prohibited.
• At the conclusion of a user’s session that user will log off the system he/she is using.

• Inappropriate Language includes, but is not limited to:
• Posting of public and private messages on web pages, PDAs, cell phones, and other devices.
• Users will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, offensive, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language.
• Users will not participate in hate mail, harassment, discriminatory remarks, and other harmful or inappropriate behaviors.

• Respect for Privacy includes, but is not limited to:
• Users will not forward or post a message that was sent to them privately without the consent of the person who sent it.
• Users will not post private information about another person.
• Users will not interfere with other users ECD work or files.

7. Inappropriate Access to Material includes, but is not limited to:
• Users will not use district technology to access material that:
• is profane or obscene (pornography),
• advocates illegal or violent activities, or
• advocates discrimination towards other individuals or groups.
• If a user inadvertently accesses inappropriate material, he/she should immediately notify his/her teacher or administrator, thereby avoiding an allegation of intentional violation of the Technology & Electronic Communication Device Acceptable Use  Policy.
• Users will not deliberately attempt to override or circumvent the firewall or encourage others to do so.

8. Respecting Resource Limits:
• Users will use technology specifically for educational or career development activities.
• Users will not download large files or software programs without the authorization of the systems administrator.  Software, particularly if it is offered as “free”, comes with undetectable spyware and advertising that can disable a computer or an entire system.
• Users will not post chain letters or engage in “spamming” (sending unnecessary messages to a large number of people).
• Users will not create a website using district technology.  Exception: A website created under the direct supervision of a teacher as part of a school-related project.
• Users may not use the network for personal and commercial purposes, such as, but not limited to, offering or purchasing goods and/or services for personal use.
• Users will not alter in any way the configuration of a computer or network without permission of authorized staff.
• Users will not intentionally waste resources, such as paper, ink cartridges, storage space, batteries, etc.
• Users acknowledge that data will be retained only until August of their graduation year and it is their responsibility for transferring data off any Rockland Public Schools system.

9.   Unacceptable Use
Unacceptable use can be defined as but not limited to:
• Furthering personal causes such as political, religious or commercial views
• Disseminating threatening or harassing messages
• Disseminating sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate material
• Attempting to gain unauthorized access to computers, servers, Google Apps for Education accounts, voicemails or other ECD’s
• Purposely infecting the network or computers with spyware, malware or viruses
• Gaining access by using another’s credentials
• Using the Internet to access bandwidth grabbing programs unless authorized to do so
• Violating copyright laws (anything from the Internet should be regarded as copyright protected
• Downloading or uploading any data or material not specifically related to your job function
• Users will not download, store, create or forward any information/data that is inflammatory, or defamatory to any race, creed, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or political beliefs of any individual or group
• Users will not download any unauthorized software, file or program
• Users will not download, store, create or forward any information regarding explosives or weapons unless as information for a specific class assignment.

10.  Appropriate / Inappropriate Use of Educational Technology:
• Users will not use any district technology to play games that have been downloaded onto a technology device, or that are played on the Internet. Assigned, teacher approved interactive tools, which are directly related to the curriculum, are permitted.
• Users will not use the Internet or other technology media to access chat rooms or any type of instant messaging.
• Users will not access personal accounts including, but not limited to email, music, banking, shopping and other personal accounts.
• Users will not access the Internet or other technology media for financial or commercial gain.  Ex. gambling, E-Bay
• Users’ activities, projects, or materials developed with technology and ECDs of the Rockland Public Schools must reflect our educational standards and policies. This includes, but is not limited to web page designs, PowerPoint presentations, radio broadcasts, etc.
• Users will not impersonate other individuals real or fictional.

Social Networking Sites:
• As a teaching professional your reputation can be affected. Be aware that as teachers, in the public eye you are held to a higher standard and you should use caution with text and photos that you may display.
• Access to social networking sites is prohibited through the Rockland Public Schools network/system and ECD’s unless under the direction of a teacher or staff member.

Google Apps For Education:
• Google Apps is currently provided to all staff, faculty members and students in grades 3 through 12. Email is enabled for students in grades 9 through 12. Email that originates from or is received by a school owned computer or its contracted hosting company, in our case Google Apps For Education, is the property of the Rockland Public Schools and can be used for or against during a legal proceeding. The same holds true for voicemails stored on RPS phones and systems.
• All users of Rockland Public Schools email system should know that when writing or responding via email, please remember that the Secretary of State’s Office has determined that email is a public record. All e-mail communications sent or received by persons using the Rockland Public Schools network are subject to disclosure under the Massachusetts Public Records Law
(M.G.L. Chapter 66, Section 10) and the Federal Freedom of Information Act.
• All student Google accounts are the property of the Rockland Public Schools.
• Student accounts will be deleted in August of their graduation year and the student is solely responsible for transferring any data in their account to a personal, non-RPS account.
• The sole purpose of the student assigned Google account is for students to communicate and collaborate with school staff and fellow students.
• Use of the district’s Google account is a privilege.
• Use of RPS Google accounts by students will align with the student handbook’s code of conduct and the code will be used for discipline purposes. Students who use RPS assigned Google accounts will exhibit maturity and common sense.
• Students are responsible for messages sent from their accounts. Students should exercise extreme caution with their passwords and never let a fellow student use their account.
• No student shall use their RPS Google account to operate a personal business.
• The Rockland Public School district reserves the right to terminate either temporarily or permanently a Google account if used inappropriately.
• Students will not identify their home telephone numbers, home addresses or any personal information in any email correspondence.
• No assumption of privacy should be assumed with a RPS assigned Google accounts. RPS administrative and technology staff reserves the right to go into a user’s mailbox to find lost messages, to conduct lawful investigations, or to comply with investigations of wrongful acts. RPS will cooperate fully with any law enforcement investigation. Illegal activities on the system will be referred to law enforcement authorities for appropriate legal action.
• Rockland Public Schools reserves the right to change email providers without prior notice.
• Following usage of a Rockland Public School ECD the user will log off so as to prevent another user from using his/her account.
• Since RPS assigned Google accounts can be accessed outside the boundaries of our schools (web-based accounts) students are required to maintain the same behavior that is expected of them while in school.

Removable Media:
• Removable media can be defined as but not limited to: CD, DVD, USB devices, camera flash media cards, hard drives physically removed from their laptop or computer based machine.
• RPS has the right to pre-scan any removable media that an individual wants to bring into the RPS network, for viruses and other unwanted malware and spyware. Extreme caution is to be exercised by any individual who uses removable media with regards to the safe handling and security of the removable device and its contents. No confidential data is to be transported using removable media.

• Defined as small portable computers: Even when removed from the premises they are considered the property of the Rockland Public Schools and all policies and good faith efforts as previously outlined apply to using them away from the classroom.

11.  District Limitation of Liability:
• The Rockland Public Schools makes no expressed or implied guarantees that the activities or services provided by district technology or ECDs will be error-free or without defect. The RPS district will not be responsible for any damages to users including, but not limited to loss of data, interruptions of service, personal or psychological damages, or financial losses. The district is not responsible for the accuracy or quality of content obtained through our network or stored on our systems. Finally, the district will not be responsible for unauthorized financial obligations incurred from use of our ECDs or any components of our technology system.

Approved by Rockland School Committee     January 23, 2012

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