Computers and Use of Electronic Networks. (2018-2019). Retrieved from http://www.district148.net/documents/HandbookCalendar/SD_148_Cal_18_19_Web.pdf
I’ve worked at my school district for 18 years and this is the first time I’ve looked at the handbook’s AUP! I’ve gone and checked out the uniform, weapons, and fighting policies, but computer usage never struck me as being as important as the rest. Sure, we’ve had kids find porn on the computers (that’s how I learned it’s whitehouse.gov, not whitehouse.com) and they played games they weren’t supposed to, but I never chalked it up to being one of the more pressing concerns in our district. That was until 5-7 years ago… When most of the kids became more savvy in their searches and more cunning in their usage, we had to start really paying attention to them.
At the beginning of the school year, each family and teacher has to sign an Authorization for Access to the District’s Electronic Networks slip before being granted permission to use the internet. If that paper isn’t signed, students and teachers are unable to access their accounts. This document outlines the proper usage of school electronics and the possible actions that will be taken against the student, depending on the kind of online behavior. The district also lets families and staff know that there is no expectation of privacy on any of its networks and that all users must demonstrate responsible use or they will be subject to the loss of privileges, disciplinary action, and/or appropriate legal action.
When a kid searched out, found, and distributed porn from one of the school’s computers, he was banned from computer use in the building. Teachers can bar students indiscriminately for classroom laptop misuse. For instance, instead of working on a project, a student looked up pictures of his friends and favorite athletes, I banned him from using the computer in class to finish the project. He was warned twice and redirected, but he chose to continue doing what he wanted. And, next week, he’ll have to complete his assignment on his own time. His online behavior didn’t warrant a write up or further disciplinary action.
I’m looking for language that suggests what users “should” do, but am finding that most of it is written as “shouldn’t”. I feel confident that if I didn’t read the policy, parents and kids didn’t, either. So, I wonder, if the document were written in user friendly language, would it be more inviting and easier to understand? If it were written with a positive tone, instead of the restrictive one it currently has, would that encourage everyone to actually read what’s written.