I. Purpose
The St. Tammany Parish School Board (STPSB) provides instructional technology and Internet access to all students for educational and school board related purposes. These purposes include gathering and disseminating information regarding the school board and its schools, classroom instructional activities, school-authorized activities, and professional or career development.

II. St. Tammany Parish School Board Limitation of Liability
The STPSB can not make guarantees of any kind, either expressed or implied,that the Internet functions or services provided by or through the STPSB network will be error-free or without defect. The STPSB, its agents or employees shall not be responsible for any damage students may suffer occasioned by or arising out of students’ use or Instructional Technology, including, without limitation, any loss of data or interruptions of service. The STPSB shall not be responsible for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through or stored on the network. The STPSB shall not be responsible for financial obligations that may arise through the unauthorized use of the network. Students and their parent or guardian shall hold the STPSB harmless for any losses sustained as the result of the use of the network by a student.

III. Due Process
The STPSB shall cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in an any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the STPSB network.

If a student is believed to have violated the STPSB Instructional Technology Use Policy, the student shall be provided with a notice and opportunity to be heard in the manner set forth in the student Discipline Policy Handbook.

Disciplinary action shall be tailored to specifically address the violation and to encourage appropriate student use of the STPSB network. If the alleged violation is an infraction of the student disciplinary code, the violation shall be handled according to applicable provisions of the code.

Any STPSB administrator may terminate a student’s access privileges by providing notice to the student and their parent or guardian. This notice shall be mailed to the parent or guardian.

IV. Search an Seizure
The content of a student’s e-mail, electronic files, and records of their online activity while using the STPSB network are subject to review at any time. Routine maintenance and monitoring of the system may lead to discovery that a student has or is violating the STPSB Instructional Technology Use Policy, the student disciplinary code, or the law. If a STPSB technology specialist or the STPSB Web manager discovers a potential violation by a student, s/he shall notify the appropriate supervisor. STPSB personnel shall cooperate in the subsequent investigation.

An individual investigation shall be conducted if reasonable suspicion exists that a student has violated the law or the student disciplinary code. The inquiry shall be reasonable and focus on the nature of the alleged violation. The STPSB is authorized to conduct individual computer file searches. The STPSB shall cooperate with local, state, and federal authorities in any investigation they might be conducting of an individual student. Such violations of the law, student disciplinary code or this policy by students could result in criminal prosecution.

V. Parental Notification and Responsibility
The STPSB shall notify parents or guardians about the STPSB network and the policies governing its use. A parent or guardian must sign an agreement to allow their child(ren) to have access privileges. A parent or guardian may request alternative activities that do not require Internet access be provided for their child(ren).

School personnel shall cooperate with a parent or guardian to the extent possible in providing pertinent information about the contents of their child(ren)’s e-mail, electronic files, and online activity record. A parent or guardian may request the termination of their child(ren)’s access privilege.

The STPSB Instructional Technology Use Policy contains restrictions on accessing inappropriate material and student use of the network. However, a wide range of material is available on the Internet, some of which may not conform to the particular values of a family. To monitor and enforce a wide range of social values associated with student use of the Internet is not practically possible for the school board. STPSB recognizes that parents or guardians bear primary responsibility for transmitting particular family values to their child(ren). STPSB encourages parents or guardians to specify to their child(ren) what material is and is not acceptable for their child(ren) to access through the STPSB network.

The STPSB shall provide students and their parent or guardian with guidelines for safe use of instructional technology and the Internet (See Sections VI through XVI of this document).

VI. Teacher Selection of Materials

     When using instructional technology and the Internet for class activities, teachers shall:
  • select material that is appropriate to the age of the students and that is relevant to the course objectives;
  • preview the materials and sites they require students to access and determine the appropriateness of the material contained on or accessed through the site prior to having the students access the site;
  • provide guidelines and lists of resources to assist students in effectively and properly conducting research activities;
  • assist students in developing skills to ascertain the truthfulness of information, distinguish fact from opinion, and engage in discussions about controversial issues while demonstrating tolerance and respect for those who hold divergent views.

VII. Internet Access
Students are allowed to access the Internet at schools with written consent of their parent or guardian. A parent or guardian may request that their child(ren) not be provided access to the Internet by notifying the STPSB in writing. Such students shall be able to participate in whole class instruction which uses material taken from the Internet by the teacher in order to meet the learning objectives set forth in State and local curriculum standards.

Access to the Internet by students shall be monitored by their teacher, other staff member, or a parent volunteer present in the classroom. The Internet shall NOT be accessed by students when an adult monitor is not present in the classroom.

Monitor screens shall be in full view of the teacher when students are on the Internet. In classrooms, computer labs, or libraries where computer arrangements prevent all monitor screens from being viewed at once, the teacher shall circulate among the computers.

To the extent the St. Tammany Parish School Board is able, all Internet access shall be protected by filtering software to help prevent student access to objectionable sites that might contain defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, obscene, profane, sexually-oriented, threatening, racially offensive, or illegal material. In some cases, students use of Internet sites may be limited to those specific sites reviewed and bookmarked by teachers. Safe Internet browsers such as HiFusion, Searchopolis for Teens, and Yahooligans for Kids may also be used to further protect students from objectionable sites. Browsers are software programs that find and show Web pages on the Internet.

Logs of all browser access to the Internet are kept. These logs record when, where, and from which computer Internet access has attempted, whether permissible or not. STPSB administrators have access to these logs.

Instructional technology and Internet access is limited to student and STPSB employee use for education purposes as determined solely by the STPSB or its employees. Instructional technology and Internet access is not open for use by the general public, or for use by civic, political or religious organizations or for other non-education related purposes.

VIII. E-Mail, Lists, Newsgroups, and Chat Rooms
Students have the conditional privilege to use e-mail, lists, newsgroups, and chat rooms related to class assignments, according to the following requirements.

  • Students shall be responsible for reporting all violations of privacy while using e-mail.
  • Students shall not redirect to another e-mail address any e-mail sent to them. Students may forward e-mail regarding a classroom assignment to other students working on the assignment.
  • Students shall be responsible for all e-mail sent or solicited. E-mail should not contain pornographic material, inappropriate information, or viruses that are potentially dangerous to the school network or the integrity of the hardware on school premises.
  • Students have a conditional privilege to request membership in newsgroups and e-mail lists from the Internet in order to facilitate real-time learning with members on the network. A newsgroup is a discussion group or bulletin board about a specific topic on the Internet. An e-mail list is a service which automatically sends a student information, in the form of e-mail, from a large group of other individuals. Only teachers can subscribe to newsgroups and e-mail lists on behalf of their students.
  • Students may participate in group discussions in a chat room in order to complete classroom assignments and only while under the immediate supervision of their teacher. A chat room is an area on the Internet where several people can conduct a group discussion in real time.
  • Students shall be responsible for helping safeguard the STPSB’s instructional technology and Internet services.

IX. Student Educational Web Pages
The guidelines below shall be followed when students author a Web page. Students also shall follow additional web page requirements found in the STPSB Web Site Development Guidelines.

  • With the approval of the building principal and teacher, students may establish educational Web pages. Material presented in the student’s educational Web site must be directly related to teacher assigned class projects.
  • Student educational Web pages must be reviewed by the teacher prior to posting to the Internet. All content and links must be directly related to the assigned class project. Grammar and spelling must be edited by the teacher as well.
  • All proposed content and links in a Web page must be reviewed and approved by authorized STPSB personnel prior to the creation or addition of content and links of a Web page.
  • Student educational Web pages must be posted to the Internet by the teacher or the school Web manager.
  • Student educational Web pages will be removed at the end of the school year unless special arrangements are made with the building principal.
  • Student educational Web pages shall be posted on the STPSB server for viewing by the general public. A student educational Web page may be accessed through links found on the student’s teacher classroom Web page.
Student educational Web pages are not open for use by the general public, or for use by civic, political or religious organizations, or for other non-education related purposes as determined by the St. Tammany Parish School Board.

X. Unacceptable Use
The following uses of the system are considered unacceptable and violation of them may result in the loss of access privileges.

Personal Safety
  • Students shall not post personal contact information about themselves or other people. Personal contact information includes home address, telephone numbers, home e-mail address, school address, work address, etc.
  • Students shall not agree to physically meet with someone they have met online without their parent’s or guardian’s prior written approval and participation.
  • Students shall promptly disclose to STPSB personnel any message they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.

Illegal Activities
  • Students shall not attempt to gain unauthorized access to or “hack” into the STPSB network or to any other computer system through the STPSB network or go beyond student authorized access. This includes attempting to access another person’s files. Such actions are illegal, even if only for the purposes of “browsing.”
  • Students shall not make deliberate attempts to disrupt the computer system performance or destroy data by spreading computer viruses or by any other means. Such actions are illegal.
  • Students shall not use the STPSB network to engage in any other illegal act, such as arranging for a drug sale or the purchase of alcohol, engaging in criminal gang activity, threatening the safety of persons, etc., in violation of a federal, state, or local law.
    System Security
  • Students are responsible for the use of their access privileges and should take all reasonable precautions to protect these privileges. Under no conditions should a student provide his/her password to another person.
  • Students shall immediately notify the system administrator if they identify a possible security problem. Students shall not search for security problems, since this may be construed as an illegal attempt to gain access.
  • Students shall avoid the inadvertent spread of computer viruses by using virus protection software provided by the school if they download files or e-mail. There shall be no downloads of any kind if virus protection software is not installed and running on the computer in use.

XI. Inappropriate Language
Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to all electronic files, public messages, e-mail messages, and material posted on Web pages. Such use of inappropriate language is unacceptable, may be unlawful, and can result in legal action.

  • Students shall not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language.
  • Students shall not post information that could cause damage, pose a danger of disruption, or incite confusion or panic.
  • Students shall not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.
  • Students shall not harass another person. Harassment is persistently acting in a manner that distresses or annoys another person. If a student is told by a person to stop sending them messages, s/he must stop.
  • Students shall not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.

XII. Respect for Privacy

  • Students shall not repost a message that was sent to them privately without permission of the person who sent them the message.
  • Students shall not post private information such as home address, telephone numbers, home e-mail address, school address, work address, etc., about another person.

XIII. Respecting Resource Limits

  • Students shall use the STPSB instructional technology and Internet network only for educational activities.
  • Students shall not use the STPSB network to access e-shopping Web sites for the purpose of online purchasing nor shall they submit any personal or credit card information to such sites.
  • Students shall not download large files unless absolutely necessary. If necessary, students shall download the file at a time when the system is not being heavily used and immediately remove the file from the system computer to their personal computer or diskette.
  • Students shall not post chain letters or engage in spamming. Spamming is sending an annoying or unnecessary message to a large number of people.
  • Students shall not spend excessive amounts of time at a computer checking, composing, and sending e-mail, using newsgroup and lists, or using chat rooms.

XIV. Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement

  • Students shall not plagiarize works that they find on the Internet. Plagiarism is taking the ideas or writings of others and presenting them as if they were original to the student. Students shall be subject to disciplinary action and punitive academic measures if they plagiarize the work of others.
  • Students shall respect the rights of copyright owners. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual inappropriately reproduces a work that is protected by a copyright. If a work contains language that specifies acceptable use of that work, the student should follow the expressed requirements. If the student is unsure whether or not they can use a work, s/he should request permission from the copyright owner.
  • Students shall not download or install copyrighted software from any source on any school computer.

XV. Access to Inappropriate Materials

  • Students shall not use the STPSB network to access material that is profane or obscene (pornography), advocates the use of illegal drugs, advocates illegal or dangerous acts, or advocates violence or discrimination toward other people. A special exception may be made for students to conduct advanced research which is approved by and closely monitored by the principal, the teacher, and a parent or guardian.
  • If a student inadvertently accesses such information, s/he must immediately disclose the situation to a teacher. This disclosure shall protect students against an allegation that they have intentionally violated the Instructional Technology Use Policy.

XVI. Respect For Technology Equipment

  • Students shall respect all instructional technology equipment including, but not limited to, computers, peripheral equipment, and software.
  • Students and their parent or guardian are accountable for the proper use and care of instructional technology equipment and for the repair or replacement of willfully damaged equipment in compliance with School Board policy.
Ref: Board Minutes, 7-13-00