Network Access & Acceptable Use Policy
Updated and Approved by School Committee March 24, 2014
1.1 The Natick Public Schools (NPS) provides employees and students (hereafter referred to as “Users”) with access to the District-Wide School Network (hereafter referred to as “The Network”), which also serves as our gateway to the Internet.
1.2 The Network has been developed for educational purposes. It is intended to assist in preparing students for success in life in the 21st century by providing access to a wide range of information resources and the ability to communicate with people throughout the world. The term "educational purposes" includes use of The Network for curriculum activities, and professional or career development activities related to education.
1.3 The Network will be used to enhance productivity through increased communication within the District, and assist its employees in upgrading their skills through greater exchange of information with their peers. The Network will also assist the District in communicating with parents, social service agencies, government agencies, businesses, etc.
1.4 The Network may not be used for personal or commercial purposes, such as, but not limited to, offering, providing, or purchasing goods and/or services for personal use.
2.0 DISTRICT RESPONSIBILITIES
2.1 The Director of Technology will oversee access to The Network and will establish processes for setting up: user accounts; authorization for installation of all software; quotas for disk usage on the system; backup, retention and archival schedules; virus protection; web content filtering, and other necessary activities.
2.2 The Building Administrator or designee will serve as the building coordinator for The Network. The building coordinator, in partnership with the Director of Technology, will approve building-level activities. Together they will ensure employees receive proper training in the use of The Network and the requirements of this policy. In addition they will establish a system to ensure that students using The Network receive adequate supervision and network orientation. The building administrative team will be responsible for interpreting and enforcing the District Network Access Policy at the building level.
2.3 When using the Internet for class activities, teachers will select material appropriate to the students and relevant to the course objectives. In order to determine the appropriateness of the material contained on or accessed through the site, teachers will preview materials and sites they require or recommend to students. Teachers will provide guidelines and resource lists to assist their students in channeling research activities effectively and properly. They will assist their students in developing the skills to ascertain the reliability of information, distinguish fact from opinion, and engage in discussions about controversial issues while demonstrating tolerance and respect for those who hold divergent views.
2.4 The Natick Public Schools will establish a World Wide Web presence and will develop Web pages that will present information about the District and Community.
2.5 With the approval of The Director of Technology and Building Administrator, schools and classes may establish Web pages that present information about the school or class activities. Content of these pages will be monitored.
3.0 USERS AND ACCESS TO THE SYSTEM
3.1 The Network Access Policy will govern all utilization of The Network. Employee and student use of the system will also be governed by applicable sections of the Natick Public Schools Employee Handbook, Student Handbook and Parent and Student Laptop/Equipment Contract.
3.2 All District employees and students will have access to the World Wide Web through the District's network. Internet activity in all schools is filtered by the district's content filter based on policies established by the district. In addition, students in our 1 to 1 program are also filtered in the same way when they are outside of school. Any attempt to bypass or disable this filter is a violation of our Acceptable Use (Section 8.0) Parents/Guardians may specifically request that their children not be provided such access by indicating so on the Parent Request to Restrict Access Form and returning that document to their child's school. Upon receipt of that form, Natick Public Schools will make its best effort to restrict all Internet access. However, there can be no guarantee that such a student can be restricted at all times.
3.3 E-mail accounts are provided to all employees and students in grades 8 - 12. All employees are required to use their school issued email accounts for all communications with students or when conducting any school business. This will ensure compliance with email archiving regulations, which are required by law. E-Mail accounts issued to students are also archived to ensure student safety. All users are provided e-mail access through their own network account.
3.4 A guest, such as a visiting teacher or student, may receive an individual account at the discretion of the Natick Public Schools Administration if there is a specific, School or District related purpose requiring such access. Use of the system by a guest must be specifically limited to a School or District related purpose.
4.0 PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTIFICATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
4.1 The District will notify parents/guardians about The Network and the policies governing its use at least once annually. Parents/Guardians have the option to restrict access to The Network for their children by following the steps outline above in section 3.2
4.2 The Natick Public Schools Acceptable Use (Section 8.0) contains restrictions on accessing inappropriate material. There is a wide range of material available on the Internet, some of which may not be in concert with the particular values of the families of students. It is not practically possible for the Natick Public Schools to monitor and enforce a wide range of social values in student use of the Internet. Further, the District recognizes that parents/guardians bear primary responsibility for communicating their particular set of family values with their children. The district will encourage parents/guardians to specify to their children what material is and is not acceptable for their children to access through The Network.
4.3 Natick Public Schools will provide students and parents with guidelines for the student's personal safety while using the Internet.
5.0 DISTRICT LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
5.1 Natick Public Schools makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, that the functions or the services provided by or through its Network will be error-free or without defect. The district will not be responsible for any damages users may suffer, including but not limited to, loss of data or interruptions of service, or personal physical, psychological, or monetary damages. The District is not responsible for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through or stored on the system. The District will not be responsible for unauthorized financial obligations arising through the use of the system.
6.0 DUE PROCESS
6.1 Natick Public Schools will cooperate fully with local, county, state, and federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through The Network.
6.2 Violations of Acceptable Use (Section 8.0) can carry serious consequences and could result in the immediate suspension of the user's privileges. Further disciplinary action may be taken by the Administration of the Natick Public Schools and/or Towns, County, State or Federal authorities. Disciplinary actions will be tailored to meet specific concerns related to the violation.
6.3 The Technology Director or the Building Administrator may terminate the account privileges of a user by providing notice to the user. Guest accounts not active for more than 30 days may be removed, along with the user's files, without notice to the user.
7.0 SEARCH AND SEIZURE
7.1 The Network is the property of the Natick Public Schools and its storage systems are therefore subject to inspection by the administration at any time. System users have a limited privacy expectation in the contents of their personal files on The Network.
7.2 Routine maintenance and monitoring of the system may lead to discovery that the user has violated or is violating the Acceptable Use (Section 8.0), the disciplinary code, or the law.
7.3 An individual search will be conducted if there is suspicion that a user has violated the Acceptable Use (Section 8.0), the law or the disciplinary code. The nature of the investigation will be in the context of the nature of the alleged violation.
8.0 ACCEPTABLE USE
8.1 Existing copyright law will govern the use of material accessed through The Network. Because the extent of copyright protection of certain works found on the Internet is unclear, users will make a standard practice of requesting permission from the holder of the work if their use of the material has the potential of being considered a copyright infringement. Users will respect copyright and request permission when appropriate.
8.2 When using The Network, the user agrees to take full responsibility for his or her own actions. The Natick Public Schools will not be held liable for the actions of anyone connecting to the Internet through this network. Therefore, all users shall assume full liability, legal, financial, or otherwise, for their use of The Network.
8.3 Access to the Internet provided by The Network is provided for classroom activities, professional or career development, and limited high-quality self-discovery activities in line with the educational goals of the district (Section 1.0).
8.4 The Internet connection is not to be used for any non-educational purposes including, but not limited to, commercial solicitations.
8.5 The user of The Network Internet connection becomes an extension of the Natick Public Schools and is expected to abide by the rules of conduct set forth by the District. Employees and students should reference the Employee and Student Handbook where applicable. Inappropriate behavior will not be allowed.
8.6 The user will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language or images.
8.7 The user will not post information that could cause damage or disruption. This includes, but is not limited to, the posting of broadcast messages or other actions that cause congestion of the network or interfere with the work of others.
8.8 The user will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.
8.9 The user will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.
8.10 The user will not install unauthorized software or download unauthorized software and/or files from a remote location without prior permission from a representative of the school district.
8.11 Users will not attempt to bypass, disable or go beyond their authorized access, make deliberate attempts to disrupt system performance or destroy data (by spreading computer viruses or by any other means), or engage in other illegal activities.
8.12 All users of The Network are issued individual network accounts and passwords with specific network privileges. All users are expected to keep these credentials private and confidential. Sharing or disseminating of passwords, access codes, access telephone numbers, or account numbers to unauthorized persons are not allowed.
8.13 The user will not use The Network to access material that is profane or obscene (e.g., pornography), that advocates illegal acts, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other people (e.g., hate literature).
9.0 DATA STORAGE AND BACKUP
9.1 The district has the right to reimage any computer as necessary.
9.2 No personal data or files should be stored on the local machine.
9.3 The school district provides all network users with Google accounts to save data. The school district can not guarantee all information can be recovered in the event of catastrophic failure.
9.4 Responsibility for backing up data in your Google account or any device issued to a school district user falls upon the user. The district is not responsible for backing up these devices.
10.0 USE AND CARE OF HARDWARE
10.1 Any and all equipment issued by the school district for use by any user must be treated with due care. We are all responsible for ensuring equipment is not damaged or stolen. Abuse or improper use should be reported immediately to your building administrator.
10.2 Any and all issues related to hardware problems must be reported to the Technology Help Desk x5555 promptly.
10.3 The school/district does not support equipment brought in from the outside by any user.
10.4 Permission to set up any outside equipment not owned or provided by the school district on school
premises must be given approval in advance by the Technology Director.
10.5 The district has the right to confiscate or disable any outside equipment that interferes with operation of the system/network.
10.6 The school/district is not responsible for damage to or loss of equipment brought in from the outside.