Acceptable Use Policy
An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a policy that a user must agree to follow in order to be provided with access to a network or to the Internet. It is common practice for many businesses and educational facilities to require that employees or students sign an acceptable use policy before being granted a network ID. In the most basic terms, it is a policy allowing you access to the internet and letting you know and understand exactly what you can and cannot do on the internet. With the AUP in place, this will provide the school district with a safe and secure learning environment as well as teaching environment.
Every school will vary slightly in their Acceptable Use Policy.
The first school district I researched was Austin Independent School District located in Austin, Texas. As many other school districts, their AUP seems to be quite similar to the others. Access to the District’s technology resources, meaning electronic communications and computer systems and equipment, is a privilege, not a right. Access shall be made available to students and employees primarily for instructional and administrative purposes and in accordance with administrative regulations, district policy and law.
Boston Public Schools is the second school’s AUP I researched. It is the policy of the Boston Public Schools that students and staff will use all technology to access electronic (“computer”) networks, including the Internet and e-mail, in a responsible, legal, and ethical manner. Failure to do so may result in the loss of network privileges for the user, disciplinary action under the Code of Discipline, and prosecution under federal or state law. Again, the same ideas were used to create their AUP, but on their website they have AUP rules for each grade level more specific. They also laid out lesson plans, glossaries, and quizzes for each grade level demonstrating the AUP. I thought this was very interesting!
The third school I researched is Windham School District in New Hampshire. The Windham School’s district-wide network will provide the gateway connecting students and school personnel to the Internet, the electronic highway connecting thousands of computers around the world. Students and school personnel will have access to universities, colleges, other schools, businesses, government agencies and to e-mail communication with people all over the world. Again, basically the same principles for this school and the network. They list what are acceptable uses and unacceptable uses as well as the punishments that will follow if you do not follow the guidelines.
Lastly, I researched Worcester School in Massachusetts. The Worcester Public Schools recognize the value of computer and other electronic resources to improve student learning and enhance the administration and operation of its schools. Worcester Public Schools encourages the responsible use of computers; computer networks, including the internet; and other electronic resources in support of the mission and goals of our district. With this district, the students, staff, and parents have to return a signed copy of the handbook stating the policy about being on the internet and the terms and conditions. I like this idea because it holds everyone accountable!