Acceptable Use Policy
FWCS, Policies, Rules,
and Regulations STUDENTS
5163 Internet Access
Technology greatly increases our students’ educational opportunities. Technology, especially the Internet, allows students to transcend the four walls of their classroom enabling them to experience places they may never have been able to visit otherwise. The Internet provides both students and staff access to information and opportunities that were previously difficult to obtain, untimely, or, in many cases, unavailable. Students can research and access information directly from universities and libraries from the convenience of their own classroom. At the same time, Internet access involves issues of security, privileges, and questions concerning the appropriateness of certain kinds of information. Moreover, in order for such access to be utilized appropriately, students and staff must be trained and be aware of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities connected with such access. Additionally, parents must be informed of their shared responsibility for their children’s safe use of the Internet.
Fort Wayne Community Schools is committed to providing Internet access to students and staff in an equitable, meaningful, and safe manner. The mission of Fort Wayne Community Schools is to educate all students to high standards enabling them to become productive, responsible citizens. Since access to information is a vital part of learning, Internet access will be made available to all students; however, this access will be a part of educational activities that promote and foster student learning. Unfortunately, public places like the Internet can be dangerous. The Internet can put students in contact with inappropriate and potentially harmful material and people. To help protect our students, Fort Wayne Community Schools employs Internet filters and security devices on all student Internet connections. Ultimately, however, staff are responsible for ensuring appropriate access and enforcing policies that are consistent with current state and district standards.
Appropriate training will be provided to all staff that have direct contact with students related to the implementation of this policy. All training regarding this policy will be age and content-appropriate.
The superintendent is authorized to develop regulations, procedures, and guidelines governing the acceptable use of the Internet. Those regulations, procedures, and guidelines should be consistent with applicable law and appropriately balance the needs and concerns of the school corporation, its staff, students, and parents.
5163.1 Staff, Student, and Parent Notification of District-Provided Access to the Internet
Fort Wayne Community Schools offers its staff and students access to the Internet. The Internet is an electronic network globally connecting computers and individuals. The Internet is a tool for learning. This technology will help schools by allowing students and staff to:
- immediately access research information and resources;
- collaborate with other individuals and groups around the world;
- visit distant places without leaving the classroom.
Staff and families should be aware that some material accessible via the Internet contains items that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or potentially offensive. In addition, it is possible to purchase certain goods and services via the Internet which could result in unwanted financial obligations for a student’s parent or guardian.
While the district’s intent is to make Internet access available in order to further educational goals and objectives, students may find ways to access other materials as well. Even technical methods or systems to regulate student Internet access do not guarantee compliance with the district’s acceptable use policy. That notwithstanding, the district believes that the benefits to students of access to the Internet exceed the disadvantages. Ultimately, however, staff are responsible for ensuring appropriate access and enforcing policies that are consistent with current state and district standards. Toward that end, Fort Wayne Community Schools makes the district’s complete Internet policy and procedures available upon request to all staff, parents, guardians, and other members of the community, and provides parents and guardians the option of requesting for their children alternative activities not requiring Internet use.
5163.2 District and Staff Responsibility for FWCS-Provided Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks
In making decisions regarding student access to the Internet, Fort Wayne Community Schools considers its own stated mission, goals, and objectives. Electronic information and research skills are now fundamental to our society, and an important component of citizenship and many vocations. Access to the Internet enables students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, bulletin boards, and other resources while communicating with people around the world. The district expects that faculty will blend thoughtful use of the Internet throughout the curriculum and will provide guidance and instruction to students in its use.
Students should use Internet resources in accordance with the guidance and direction of the staff. While students will be able to move beyond those resources to others that have not been reviewed by staff, they shall be provided with classroom instruction, guidelines and lists of resources particularly suited to learning objectives. Classroom instruction will include topics related to safe Internet practices and online behavior. This includes interacting with others on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.
- Students utilizing district-provided Internet access must first have the permission of and must be supervised by Fort Wayne Community Schools professional staff. Students utilizing school-provided Internet access are responsible for good behavior online just as they are in a classroom or other area of the school. The same general rules for behavior and communications apply as outlined in the FWCS Student-Parent Handbook.
- The purpose of district-provided Internet access is to facilitate communications in support of research and learning. Student use must be in support of and be consistent with the educational objectives of Fort Wayne Community Schools. Access is a privilege, not a right. Access entails responsibility.
- Internet access and electronic network services provided by Fort Wayne Community Schools are for educational purposes; therefore, Fort Wayne Community Schools has the right to place reasonable restrictions on the material accessed through or posted to the network.
- Users should not expect that files, emails, and other electronic communications stored on or sent to school-based computers and network servers will be private. Electronic communications and files stored on school-based computers and network servers may be treated like school lockers. Administrators and faculty may monitor files and communications to maintain system integrity and insure that users are acting responsibly.
- All student use of district-provided electronic network services is governed by the School Behavior Code as documented in the FWCS Student-Parent Handbook. Additionally, the following specific uses of school-provided Internet or other electronic network access are not permitted:
- to access, upload, download, or distribute pornographic, obscene, or sexually explicit material;
- to transmit obscene, abusive, or sexually explicit language;
- to engage in personal attacks, bullying/cyber-bullying, or harassment, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks;
- to violate any local, state, or federal statute;
- to use for financial or commercial gain;
- to vandalize, damage, or disable the property of another individual or organization;
- to access another individual’s materials, information, or files without permission; and,
- to violate copyright or otherwise use the intellectual property of another individual or organization without permission.
- Any violation of district policy and rules may result in loss of district-provided access to the Internet. Additional disciplinary action may be warranted in keeping with the existing Student-Parent Handbook. When and where applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.
5163.3 Notice to Parents/Guardians Regarding Responsibility for Student Use of FWCS-Provided Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks
While the intent of FWCS is to make Internet access available in order to further educational goals and objectives, students may find ways to access other materials as well. Due to the open nature of the Internet, it is impossible for FWCS to institute technical methods or systems to regulate students’ Internet access which will guarantee that students cannot access undesirable material. That notwithstanding, FWCS believes that the benefits to students of access to the Internet exceed the disadvantages. The school staff has a responsibility to monitor individual use of the Internet and take appropriate disciplinary action when necessary.
Ultimately, however, parents and guardians are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media and information sources including the Internet. Parents will be provided with the complete FWCS Internet policy and procedures. Fort Wayne Community Schools also provides parents and guardians with the option of requesting for their minor children alternative activities not requiring Internet use.
Outside of school, families bear responsibility for the same guidance of Internet use as they exercise with information sources such as television, telephones, radio, movies, and other media.
Fort Wayne Community Schools makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, for the Internet access it is providing. The district will not be responsible for any damages users suffer, including, but not limited to:
- the loss of data resulting from delays or interruptions in service;
- the accuracy, nature, or quality of information stored on any electronic media, hard drives, or servers;
- the accuracy, nature, or quality of information gathered through district-provided Internet access;
- personal property used to access district computers or networks or for district-provided Internet access;
- unauthorized financial obligations resulting from district-provided access to the Internet.