USE OF COMPUTERS BY STAFF AND STUDENTS
The Board of Education of the Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to the optimization of student learning and teaching and therefore encourages the use of computers and networked resources, including the Internet (a global network made up of smaller contributing networks) by its students and staff. The District encourages computer use as an integral part of the curriculum. Through software applications, on-line data bases, bulletin boards and electronic mail, the network will enhance educational experience and provide statewide, national, and global communication opportunities for staff and students.
When a student or staff member accesses computers, computer networks, and educational technology owned or operated by the Rhinebeck Central School District (RCSD), or by the Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), he/she assumes certain responsibilities and obligations. All access to information of this type is subject to appropriate RCSD or BOCES policies, and to local, state, federal, and international laws. RCSD expects that staff and student use of this technology will be ethical and will reflect academic honesty. Staff and students must demonstrate respect for intellectual property, ownership of data, system security mechanisms, and rights to privacy.
Each staff member or student who wishes to use the various networks available to him/her through District technology must establish a user (ID) account in order to insure the integrity of the network and Internet. Each account holder must agree to act responsibly and to comply with this Policy and the Administrative Regulations promulgated by the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools regarding access to and use of computers and networked information resources. Therefore, before receiving a user account (ID), each student and staff member must sign a user agreement. In the case of students, the student’s parent or guardian must also sign the user agreement.
Under no condition should an account holder give his/her password to another user. All violations of this Policy and Regulations that can be traced to an individual account name will be treated as the sole responsibility of the owner of that account. A user account is a privilege that may be suspended or revoked in the event of a breach of this Policy and Regulations by an account user. Further, a breach of this policy and regulations may be considered an act of insubordination which may result in discipline of the account holder.
Users acknowledge that in the course of using the Internet, there may occur interruptions in service beyond the control of BOCES or the RCSD, which may result in the loss of data or files. BOCES and RCSD disclaim any and all responsibility for loss of data, information or files, caused by such service interruptions.
Staff and students are expected to make appropriate use of computer resources provided by the RCSD and the BOCES. Users must:
• Use computer resources only for authorized purposes following established procedures.
• Be responsible for all activities on an assigned account.
• Access only files and data that are your own, which are publicly available, or to which you have been given authorized access.
• Use only legal versions of copyrighted software.
• Be considerate in the use of shared resources.
• Maintain the privacy of your own password.
• Make no use of the computer for political advocacy, except where such is part of an approved, staff supervised, educational activity related to the curriculum. Such advocacy must contain a disclaimer that any opinions expressed do not represent those of the RCSD or the BOCES.
• Exercise care in the use of e-mail for appropriate purposes.
• Insure that any copyrighted material is not reproduced without the written approval of the owner of the copyright.
• Exercise care not to take ideas or writings from other individuals and offer them as their own (plagiarism).
Staff and students must not make inappropriate use of computer resources provided by the RCSD or the BOCES. The following is a partial list of examples of inappropriate use:
• Using another person’s password or revealing one’s password to another.
• Using another person’s files, system, or data without permission.
• Using computer programs to decode passwords or to access control information.
• Entering a code-protected or hidden file.
• Attempting to circumvent or subvert system security measures.
• Engaging in any activity that might be harmful to systems or to any information stored thereon, such as creating viruses, damaging files, or disrupting service.
• Vandalizing hardware or software components.
• Making or using illegal copies of copyrighted software, storing such
copies on RCSD or the BOCES systems, or sending them to other networks.
• Using mail service to harass others.
• Using profane, obscene, defamatory or other kinds of inappropriate language.
• Violating any policies of the Boards of Education of the RCSD or the BOCESBoard, or any local state, federal, or international laws.
Internet Use and Safety
Internet access is provided with the understanding that the RCSD and the
BOCES cannot control the content available on the Internet. The vast majority of sites available provide a wealth of useful information to staff and students. However, some sites may contain information that is inaccurate, offensive, defamatory or otherwise inappropriate for students. The RCSD and BOCES do not condone or permit the use of such materials in the school environment and make good faith efforts to limit access by students to such inappropriate materials.
Users who bring such material into the school environment may have their accounts suspended or terminated, may be subject to disciplinary action, and may be referred to appropriate law enforcement officials where such activities are or are suspected of being illegal.
The District shall also provide age-appropriate instruction to students regarding appropriate online behavior including, but not limited to, interacting on social networks, web sites and chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. Such instruction will be provided even if the District prohibits students from accessing social networking sites and chat rooms on District technology.
The RCSD, in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, requires all District computers with Internet access to be equipped with filtering or blocking technology that blocks access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or are harmful to minors. All newly acquired computers with Internet access will have this filtering or blocking technology installed within ten (10) days of installation of such computers. This shall be documented by the District in accordance with law. The District, however, does not guarantee that students will be prevented from accessing all inappropriate locations.
Parents, staff members, and students must be aware that it is the responsibility of the user to monitor his/her own access and to use sound judgement. However, the RCSD and BOCES, through their staff members, technology and systems reviews, shall monitor or line activities of students while in school, including but not limited to use of e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication, “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors and access to materials harmful to minors.
Any user who receives harassing, threatening, or unwelcome communications shall should immediately bring them to the attention of the teacher, the building principal, or the superintendent, as appropriate.
Users acknowledge that the network administrator may periodically need to review on-line activities in the course of performing routine maintenance of the system. Users further acknowledge that if there is reasonable suspicion of a user having violated this policy or any other RCSD or BOCES Policy or Regulation, or any applicable law, the network administrator and/or appropriate school official may require access to his/her files, including private correspondence and private files, to review on-line activities. Any administrator reviewing such files in accordance with this Policy shall not be subject to any claims arising out of such review.
The RCSD and BOCES prohibit the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information regarding minors by their officers, employees or agents.
The Rhinebeck Central School District considers any violation of this policy to be a serious offense. Any account user who after due process has been afforded, is determined to have used district computers, networked information resources and/or the Internet in violation of this Policy, may have his/her use account suspended and/or revoked. A breach of the terms of this Policy and any implementing Regulations may also result in disciplinary action consistent with applicable laws and regulations, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable collective bargaining agreements. A breach of the terms of this Policy shall result in a referral to appropriate law enforcement officials where the breach involves suspected illegal or criminal activities.