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    General User Policy

    3225 4312 7320 Technology Acceptable Use 8-15-2013.docx

    Technology Acceptable Use                      Policy Code: 3225/4312/7320


    The board provides its students and staff access to a variety of technological resources. Technological resources, including computers, other electronic devices, programs, networks and the Internet, provide opportunities to enhance instructional methods, appeal to different learning styles, and achieve the educational goals established by the Board.  Through district technology resources, users can observe events as they occur around the world, interact with others on a variety of subjects, and acquire access to current and in-depth information.


    The board intends that students and employees benefit from these resources while remaining within the bounds of safe, legal and responsible use. Accordingly, the board establishes this policy to govern student and employee use of school system technological resources.  This policy applies regardless of whether such use occurs on or off school system property, and it applies to all school system technological resources, including but not limited to computer networks and connections, the resources, tools and learning environments made available by or on the networks, and all devices that connect to those networks.


    Use of technological resources should be integrated into the educational program. Technological resources should be used in teaching the Common Core State Standards, the North Carolina Essential Standards, and in meeting the educational goals of the Board.  Professional personnel will make thoughtful use of technological resources by considering the quality of the content, the skills required to access information, and the ability of students to evaluate the information.  Teachers will help students develop skills to enable them to effectively utilize devices and networks, and to search the Internet responsibly.  Professional personnel should consult Board Policy 3200, Selection of Textbooks and Supplementary Materials, for guidance on criteria for selecting digital instructional materials.  The curriculum committee should provide suggestions for using technology resources in the curriculum guides as provided in Board Policy 3115, Curriculum and Instruction Guides.  Teachers are encouraged to further incorporate the use of technological resources into their lesson plans.


    The superintendent or designee shall ensure that school district devices with Internet access comply with federal requirements regarding filtering software and Internet safety policies.  The superintendent or designee shall develop any regulations necessary to meet such requirements and will submit any certifications necessary to meet such requirements.


    A.  Expectations for Use of School Technological Resources


    Any users of district technological resources, including staff and students, must comply with the requirements for use established in the administrative regulation which further defines or explains acceptable use, responsibilities of the user, limits of use, restricted material, consequences of unacceptable behavior, confidentiality of information, and the inability of the board to guarantee services on the Internet.


    The use of school system technological resources, including access to the Internet, is a privilege, not a right.  Individual users of the school system’s technological resources are responsible for their behavior and communications when using those resources.  Responsible use of school system technological resources is use that is lawful, ethical, respectful, academically honest and supportive of student learning.  Each user has the responsibility to respect others in the school community and on the Internet.  Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette.  General student and employee behavior standards, including those prescribed in applicable board policies, the Code of Student Conduct and other regulations and school rules, apply to use of the Internet and other school technological resources.


    In addition, anyone who uses school system computers or electronic devices or who accesses the school network or the Internet using school system resources must comply with the additional rules for responsible use listed in Section B, below.  These rules are intended to clarify expectations for conduct but should not be construed as all-inclusive.


    Before using the Internet, all students must be trained about appropriate online behavior. Such training must cover topics such as cyberbullying awareness and response, and interacting with others on social networking websites and in chat rooms.


    All students and employees must be informed annually of the requirements of this policy and the methods by which they may obtain a copy of this policy. Failure to adhere to these requirements will result in disciplinary action, including revocation of user privileges. Willful misuse may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal law. 


    B.  Rules for Use of School Technological Resources


    1.    School system technological resources are provided for school-related purposes only. Acceptable uses of such technological resources are limited to responsible, efficient and legal activities that support learning and teaching.  Use of school system technological resources for commercial gain or profit is prohibited.  Personal use of school system technological resources for amusement or entertainment is prohibited unless approved for special situations by the teacher, instructional leader, or area supervisor.  Because some incidental and occasional personal use by employees is inevitable, the board permits infrequent and brief personal use by employees so long as it occurs on personal time, does not interfere with school system business and is not otherwise prohibited by board policy or procedure.


    2.    Under no circumstance may software purchased by the school system be copied for personal use.


    3.    Students and employees must comply with all applicable board policies, administrative regulations, and school standards and rules in using technological resources.  All applicable laws, including those relating to copyrights and trademarks, confidential information, and public records, apply to technological resource use.  Any use that violates state or federal law is strictly prohibited. Plagiarism of Internet resources will be treated in the same manner as any other incidents of plagiarism, as stated in the Code of Student Conduct.


    4.    No user of the district’s technological resources, including a person sending or receiving electronic communications, may engage in creating, intentionally accessing, downloading, storing, printing, or transmitting images, graphics (including still or moving pictures), sound files, text files, documents, messages, or other material that is obscene, defamatory, profane, pornographic, harassing, or considered to be harmful to minors.

    5.    The use of anonymous proxies to circumvent content filtering is prohibited.


    6.    Users may not install or use any Internet-based file sharing program designed to facilitate sharing of copyrighted material.


    7.    Users of technological resources may not send electronic communications fraudulently (i.e., by misrepresenting the identity of the sender).


    8.    Users must respect the privacy of others.  When using e-mail, chat rooms, blogs, or other forms of electronic communication, students must not reveal personally identifiable, private or confidential information, such as the home address, or telephone number, of themselves, or fellow students.  In addition, school employees must not disclose on the Internet, or on school system websites, or web pages any personally identifiable information concerning students (including names, addresses, or pictures) without the written permission of a parent, or a guardian, or an eligible student, except as otherwise permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or policy 4700, Student Records.  Users also may not forward or post personal communications without the author’s prior consent.


    9.    Users may not intentionally or negligently damage computers, computer systems, electronic devices, software, computer networks or data of any user connected to school system technological resources.  Users may not knowingly or negligently transmit computer viruses or self-replicating messages or deliberately try to degrade or disrupt system performance. 


    10.  Users may not create or introduce games, network communications programs or any foreign program or software onto any school system computer, electronic device or network without the express permission of the technology director or designee. 


    11.  Users are prohibited from engaging in unauthorized or unlawful activities, such as “hacking” or using the computer network to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized or unlawful access to other computers, electronic devices, computer systems, or accounts. 


    12.  Users are prohibited from using another individual’s ID or password for any technological resource without permission from the individual. Sharing of an individual’s ID or password is strongly discouraged based on standard security and privacy practices. If an ID or password must be shared for a unique classroom situation, students must also have permission from the teacher or other school official.


    13.  Users may not read, alter, change, block, execute or delete files or communications belonging to another user without the owner’s express prior permission.


    14.  Employees shall not use passwords or user IDs for any data system for an unauthorized or improper purpose.


    15.  If a user identifies an instance of unauthorized access on a technological resource, he or she must immediately notify a system administrator.  Users must not demonstrate the problem to other users.  Any user identified as a security risk will be denied access.


    16.  Employees shall make reasonable efforts to supervise students’ use of the Internet during instructional time. 


    17.  Views may be expressed on the Internet or other technological resources as representing the view of the school system or part of the school system only with prior approval by the superintendent or designee.

    C.  Restricted Material on the Internet


    All users are responsible for their actions when using technological resources.  Access to networks is available to individuals willing to act responsibly and courteously.  Use of networked resources in a manner harmful to others will not be tolerated. Use of district technological resources will comply with administrative regulations developed by the superintendent.


    The Internet and electronic communications offer fluid environments in which students may access or be exposed to materials and information from diverse and rapidly changing sources, including some that may be harmful to students.  The board recognizes that it is impossible to predict with certainty what information on the Internet students may access or obtain.  Nevertheless school system personnel shall take reasonable precautions to prevent students from accessing material and information that is obscene, pornographic or otherwise harmful to minors, including violence, nudity, or graphic language that does not serve a legitimate pedagogical purpose.  The superintendent shall ensure that technology protection measures are used (such as Internet filtering) and are disabled or minimized only when permitted by law and board policy.  The board is not responsible for the content accessed by users who connect to the Internet via their personal mobile telephone technology (e.g., 3G, 4G service).


    There is the possibility that students could obtain access to inappropriate, inaccurate, defamatory, illegal, or offensive materials on the Internet. The board is aware that there is information on the Internet that is not related to the educational program.  The board also is aware that the Internet may provide information and opportunities to communicate on subjects that are not suitable for school-age children and that many parents would find objectionable. However, the Board believes that the educational opportunities provided through use of the Internet far outweigh the possibility that users may encounter inappropriate material.  In addition to taking reasonable precautions, the district will install a filtering program to prevent students from viewing inappropriate material when on school networks. This measure complies with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Since no content filtering solution provides 100% protection from inappropriate materials, such as violence, nudity, obscenity, or graphic language which does not serve a legitimate pedagogical purpose, the user is ultimately responsible for his or her activity on the Internet. School officials may disable such filters for an adult who uses a school-owned computing device for bona fide research or other lawful educational purpose. School system personnel may not restrict Internet access to ideas, perspectives, or viewpoints if the restriction is motivated solely by disapproval of the ideas involved.

    D.  Parental Consent

    Supervised access to computers, electronic devices, networks, and the Internet will be granted to all students.  Supervised access is defined as access to these resources when a school district staff member is present with the student.  Supervised access includes all classroom settings with a staff member present, computer labs with a staff member present, and media centers when a staff member, or trained volunteer is circulating, or otherwise monitoring student use of technology resources.  If parents do not want their student to have access to technological resources while at school, they should request and sign a Declination of Technological Resources form.


    The board recognizes that parents of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards their children should follow when using media and information sources.  Accordingly, before a student may independently access the Internet, the student’s parent must be made aware of the possibility that the student could obtain access to inappropriate material while engaged in independent use of the Internet. 


    In addition, in accordance with the board’s goals and visions for technology, students may require accounts in third party systems to be used independently for school related projects designed to assist students in mastering effective and proper online communications or to meet other educational goals. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) allows schools to act as agents for parents in providing consent for the creation of student accounts within the school context if the information collected is used for internal operations only and is not shared with outside organizations.  If parents do not want their student to have access to online technological resources and accounts created and managed by the school district, they should request and sign a Declination of Technological Resources form. 



    No right of privacy exists in any communication on district technological resources. School network spaces are analogous to desks or lockers and may be inspected when network maintenance becomes necessary, or if users are suspected of abusing access rights, and to ensure compliance with board policy and applicable laws and regulations. School system administrators or individuals designated by the superintendent may review files, monitor all communication, and intercept e-mail messages to maintain system integrity, and to ensure compliance with board policy and applicable laws and regulations.  School system personnel shall monitor online activities of individuals who access the Internet via the district network, a school-owned device, or school-managed cloud services via personal computers, or devices.



    The superintendent may use any means available to request the removal of personal websites, social networking websites, and other forms of online materials and communications that substantially disrupt the school environment or that utilize school system, or individual school names, logos, or trademarks without permission.


    1. Students

    School personnel generally do not monitor students’ Internet activity conducted on non-school system devices during non-school hours,. School personnel do have the capability to monitor activity in cloud-based systems managed by the district. When the student’s online behavior, using the Internet or district managed services, has a direct and immediate effect on school safety, or maintaining order and discipline in the schools, the student may be disciplined in accordance with board policy (see the student behavior policies in the 4300 series).





    2. Employees


    In accordance with Policy Code 7300 - Staff Responsibilities and Ethics, the board expects all staff members to conduct themselves on and off the job in a manner that not only reflects positively on the school system, but that sets forth a model worthy of emulation by students.  This expectation includes the use of personal websites, social networking websites, and other forms of online materials and communications.


    All employees must use district provided tools when communicating with students about any school-related matters.  Thus, employees may not use personal email, personal websites, or personal social networking profiles to post information in an attempt to communicate with students about school-related matters.

    Employees are to maintain an appropriate relationship with students at all times.  Employees are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on employee personal websites or social networking profiles in order to prevent the possibility that students could view materials that are not age-appropriate.  If an employee creates and/or posts inappropriate content on a website or profile and it has a negative impact on the employee’s ability to perform his or her job as it relates to working with students, the employee will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.  This section applies to all employees, volunteers, and student teachers working in the school system.


    3. Volunteers


    Volunteers are to maintain an appropriate relationship with students at all times.  Volunteers are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on volunteer personal websites or online networking profiles in order to prevent the possibility that students could view materials that are not age-appropriate.  An individual volunteer’s relationship with the school system may be terminated if the volunteer engages in inappropriate online interaction with students.


    Legal References: U.S. Const. amend. I; Children's Internet Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5); Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 6777; G.S. 115C-325(e), -391, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, 59888 Federal Register/Vol. 64, No. 212 / 3972 Federal Register/ Vol. 78, No.12.


    Cross References:  Curriculum and Instructional Guides (policy 3115), Technology in the Educational Program (policy 3220), Copyright Compliance (policy 3230/7330), Web Page Development (policy 3227/7322), Student Behavior Policies (all policies in the 4300 series), Student Records (policy 4700), Use of Equipment, Materials and Supplies (policy 6520), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Employee Use of Social Media (policy 7335).


    Adopted: 11/20/97

    Revised: 3/23/00

    Revised 2/7/02

    Revised: 7/20/06

    Revised:  2/3/11

    Revised: 8/15/2013