Internet Safety & Ethical Use Including Cyber Bullying and Harassment
|Policy Title||Internet Safety & Ethical Use Including Cyber Bullying and Harassment|
|Policy Category||Education Services for the Deaf and Blind (ESDB)|
|Statutory Reference||Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (Pub.L. No. 106-554 and 47|
Education Services for the Deaf and Blind shall provide each student within the schools of the ESDB a safe, orderly and caring learning environment by prohibiting bullying and harassment under any circumstances.
ESDB schools shall:
- prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications
- prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity
- prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors
- comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)]
As defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act, each ESDB school is committed to:
- Preventing Access to Inappropriate Material
To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet or other forms of electronic communications, to prevent access to inappropriate information.
Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors. “Obscene”, “child pornography”, and “harmful to minors” shall have the definitions set forth in the Children’s Internet Protection Act.
Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled for adults or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
2. Inappropriate Network Usage
To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the ESDB school’s online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes:
- unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities; and
- unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
3. Education, Supervision and Monitoring
It shall be the responsibility of all members of each ESDB school staff to educate, supervise and monitor appropriate usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy, the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act, and the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.
Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the LAN Manager or designated representatives.
ESDB Schools or designated representatives will provide age-appropriate training for students who use the School’s Internet facilities. The training provided will be designed to promote the ESDB’s commitment to:
- The standards and acceptable use of Internet services as set forth in the ESDB Internet Safety Policy;
- Student safety with regard to:
- safety on the Internet
- cyberbullying awareness and response
- appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms.
- Compliance with the E-rate requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act.
Following receipt of this training, the student will acknowledge that he/she received the training, understood it, and will follow the provisions of the ESDB School’s acceptable use policies, by signing the “Statement of Confidentiality,” “Online Internet Safety Pledge,” and the “Student Internet and E-Mail Account Agreement” (Form from ESDB / TEC 9012).
4. Bullying and Harassing Behavior Defined
Bullying and harassing behavior is any pattern of gestures or written, electronic, or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus, and that:
- Places a student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property; or
- Creates or is certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with or impairing students’ educational performance opportunities, or benefits.
Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.
5. Prohibited Conduct
The prohibited conduct may include, but is not limited to, abusive jokes, insults, slurs, false rumors, derogatory comments, name-calling, hitting, shoving, spitting, intimidation, threatening or forcing to do things, and cyber-bullying (using the Internet, email, or text messaging to bully).
6. Reporting and Consequences
No student or school employee shall be subjected to bullying or harassing behavior by school employees or students. Any student who believes that he or she has been bullied or harassed in violation of this policy should freely report such behavior immediately to a teacher, counselor, behavior technician, social worker or administrator at his or her school, including an option for a person to report such an act anonymously. A school employee who is notified of or otherwise becomes aware of conduct which may violate this policy shall report the matter immediately to their supervisor.
All complaints of bullying and harassment shall be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the school principal or designee in conjunction with the MIT process, as warranted. Violations of this policy shall be deemed as serious disciplinary infractions and addressed in accordance to the Code of Conduct (i.e. Level III and Level IV) for students. Consequences for the aforementioned levels are clearly stated in the Code of Conduct and may include, but not limited to, parent contact, school counseling referral, and suspension. Any reports of bullying and harassment shall be promptly investigated (within 24 hours). As relates to staff, all employee infractions will be addressed according to the State Personnel Policies. Additionally, this ESDB policy specifically prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a complaint or reports an incident of bullying and harassment or who participates in an investigation or grievance proceeding initiated under this policy.
7. Training and Policy Review
All employees, students and volunteers will receive annual training on the provisions and procedures of the Bullying and Harassing Policy. Additionally, all trainees must certify in writing they have received the training and understand their responsibilities to adhere to the policy. This policy shall also be incorporated into each schools’ employee training program, student code of conduct and school employee handbook.