1.1 These procedures are written to support the Electronic Resources Policy and promote the appropriate and responsible use of technology in furtherance of the mission and goals of Bellingham Public Schools. Any employee, student, or other individual engaged in activity that involves the district’s electronic resources must comply with this established procedure.
2.0 Public Records
2.1 Because Bellingham Public Schools is a public agency under the Washington Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW, any information or record relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental functions that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by the district is a public record subject to disclosure upon request by any person. Such information may include retained records related to communications by or through district resources or records of Internet activity accessed by or through district resources. Whether such records, or any portion of such records, fall within the narrow exemptions of the Public Records Act will be determined once a request is received.
3.0 User Responsibilities
3.1 It is expected that staff and students will use electronic resources provided by Bellingham Public Schools in work and study. However, the failure of a staff member, student, or any other person to comply with these procedures while using the district’s electronic resources may result in restricted access up to and including a complete denial of access and/or disciplinary action.
3.2 All use of electronic resources must be consistent with the mission and objectives of Bellingham Public Schools, further district goals established by the superintendent, and be in compliance with district policy and procedure.
3.3 District staff must at all times maintain the confidentiality of student data in accordance with district policy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“ FERPA”), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), and corresponding state law.
4.0 Acceptable Use
4.1 Creation of files, projects, videos, web pages, podcasts, and other activities using electronic resources, consistent with the educational mission of the District and in compliance with district policy and procedure.
4.2 Participation in electronic communication and collaboration activities such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, email, and other activities using electronic resources, consistent with the educational mission of the District and in compliance with District policy and procedure.
4.3 Participation in district-sponsored social media to inform and communicate with members of the school district community consistent with the educational mission of the District and in compliance with District policy and procedure.
4.4 With parent permission, posting of student-created original educational material, curriculum-related materials, and student work. Sources outside the classroom or school must be appropriately cited and all copyright laws must be followed.
4.5 Staff use of electronic resources for incidental personal use in accordance with all District policies and guidelines.
4.6 Connection and use of any personal electronic device consistent with all guidelines in this document.
4.7 Use of electronic resource accounts solely by the authorized owner of the account for the authorized purpose
5.0 Unacceptable Use
5.1 Unauthorized access or unauthorized disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) of students, staff, or other individuals for whom the district retains records. PII includes, but is not limited to, education records, personal or indirect identifiers, employment records, and personal addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses.
5.2 Contributing to cyberbullying, chain letters, harassment, intimidation, denigrating comments, discriminatory remarks, and other similar conduct.
5.3 Using or forwarding profanity, obscenity, vulgar language, racist terms, or other language that is offensive to a reasonable person.
5.4 Any use of the electronic resources for individual profit or gain; for fundraising activities without prior approval of the Communications & Community Relations department; for political action or political activities; or for excessive personal use. “Political action or political activities” includes support of or opposition to political campaigns, candidates, ballot measures, or lobbying for or in opposition to legislation;
5.5 Intentionally seeking information on, obtaining copies of, or modifying files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users, or misrepresenting other users using electronic resources.
5.6 Using an electronic account authorized for another person.
5.7 Making use of the electronic resources in a manner that serves to disrupt the use of the network by others.
5.8 Destroying, modifying, or abusing hardware and/or software.
5.9 Unauthorized downloading or installation of any software, including shareware and freeware, for use on Bellingham Public Schools electronic resources.
5.10 Downloading, copying, otherwise duplicating, and/or distributing copyrighted materials without the specific written permission of the copyright owner other than use that falls within the scope of “reasonable fair use.” The “Fair Use Doctrine” of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, USC) permits the duplication and/or distribution of materials for educational purposes under most circumstances. Questions regarding whether the duplication or distribution of copyrighted materials violates federal law should be directed to the Educational Technology Office.
5.11 Using electronic resources to access, process, or transmit obscene or pornographic content, sexually inappropriate content, or files dangerous to the integrity of the network.
5.12 Malicious use of the electronic resources to develop programs that harass other users, infiltrate a computer or computing system, and/or damage the software components of a computer or computing system.
5.13 Any attempts to defeat or bypass the District’s Internet filtering technologies by using or trying to use proxies, https, special ports, modification to District browser settings, or any other techniques, designed to avoid being blocked from inappropriate content or to conceal Internet activity.
5.14 Using any electronic resources for unlawful purposes.
6.0 Staff Responsibilities
6.1 Staff members who supervise students, control electronic equipment, or otherwise have occasion to observe student use of said equipment shall make reasonable efforts to monitor the use of this equipment to assure that use or activity conforms to electronic resources procedures and is consistent with the mission and goals of Bellingham Public Schools.
6.2 Staff should make reasonable efforts to become familiar with the electronic resources and their use so that effective monitoring, instruction, and assistance may be provided. Staff should report any misuse to their supervisor.
7.0 Bellingham Public Schools Responsibilities
7.1 Bellingham Public Schools recognizes its obligation to both protect the well-being of students in its charge and to be the steward of public property and resources. To these ends, the district reserves the right to, and may at any time, do the following:
- Log electronic resource use and monitor cloud, email, or fileserver space utilization by users. The District assumes no responsibility or liability for files deleted due to violation of storage allotments.
- Monitor the use of activities through the District’s networks and electronic resources. This may include real-time monitoring of network activity and/or maintaining a log of Internet activity for later review.
- Provide internal and external controls as appropriate, including the right to determine who will have access to Bellingham Public Schools-owned equipment.
- Restrict or exclude those who do not abide by Bellingham Public Schools’ electronic resources policy or other policies governing the use of school facilities, equipment, and materials.
- Report to appropriate authorities apparent violations of the law discovered through the District’s monitoring of electronic resources
- Restrict electronic resource destinations through software or other means.
- Provide guidelines and make reasonable efforts to train staff and students in acceptable use and policies governing electronic resource communications.
- Monitor and maintain mailing list subscriptions and delete files from the personal mail directories to avoid excessive use of fileserver storage space.
- Use filtering software or technologies to block or filter access to visual depictions that are obscene and all child pornography in accordance with CIPA. Other objectionable material may likewise be filtered. The determination of what constitutes “objectionable” material is determined by the District’s administration consistent with the District’s educational mission, the district’s policies and procedures, and the goals. Requests for blocked content evaluation or temporary filtering bypass shall be directed to the Library Media Specialist local to a school site or to the Educational Technology Department.
8.0 Legal Notices
8.1 Bellingham Public Schools is not responsible for the information that is retrieved via electronic resources.
8.2 Pursuant to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (18 USC 2510 et seq.), notice is hereby given that there are no facilities provided by this system for sending or receiving private or confidential electronic communications. Educational Technology staff have access to all email and will monitor messages.
8.3 Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
8.4 The District reserves the rights to monitor, inspect, copy, review, and store without prior notice any and all usage of:
- The network
- User files and disk space utilization
- User applications and bandwidth utilization
- User document files, folders, and electronic communications
- Internet access
- Any and all information transmitted or received in connection with network and/or email use operated by or through District resources
8.5 All information files shall be and remain the property of the District, and no student or staff user shall have any expectation of privacy regarding such materials. The District reserves the right to disclose any electronic message to law enforcement officials or third parties as deemed appropriate. All documents generated, received, transmitted, or maintained through district resources or networks are subject to the disclosure laws of the State of Washington’s Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW.
8.6 Archives are maintained of email for the purpose of public disclosure requests and disaster recovery. Barring power outage or intermittent technical issues, backups are made of staff and student files on District servers for recovery of accidental loss of deleted files. Recovery is not guaranteed.
8.7 While filtering software makes it more difficult for objectionable material to be received or accessed through district resources, filters are not infallible. The ability to access a site does not mean that otherwise objectionable material or an objectionable site falls within the district’s acceptable use requirements. Every user must take responsibility for his or her use of the network and Internet and avoid objectionable sites and/or materials. Any inadvertent visit to an objectionable site must be reported immediately.
8.8 From time to time, Bellingham Public Schools will make determinations on whether specific uses of electronic resources are consistent with the Electronic Resources policy.
8.9 Bellingham Public Schools will not be responsible for any damages users may suffer, including loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by our own negligence or user errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained is at the user’s own risk.
8.10 Bellingham Public Schools makes no warranties (expressed or implied) with respect to:
- The content of any advice or information received by a user or any costs or charges incurred as a result of seeking or accepting any information.
- Any costs, liability, or damages caused by the way the user chooses to use his or her access to the electronic resources.
8.11 Bellingham Public Schools reserves the right to change its rules and procedures at any time without notification. All students will be educated about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.
- Age appropriate materials will be made available for use across grade levels.
- Training on online safety issues and materials implementation will be made available for administration, staff and families.
9.0 Personal Device Warning
9.1 By connecting a mobile device to Bellingham Public Schools email system, you acknowledge and agree that Bellingham Public Schools Educational Technology Department reserves the right to enforce any reasonable security measures deemed necessary to mitigate data leakage and protect students. This includes but is not limited to:
- Remotely deleting the contents of your mobile device when deemed necessary, e.g., when a password is incorrectly entered more than 10 times. The deletion may include district and personal contacts, pictures, etc.
- Enforcing the use of a password / pin to access the mobile device.
- Restricting the use of applications deemed a security risk.
9.2 In addition, users of district networks with personal devices understand that documents or records prepared, owned, used, or retained by any local or public agency – including the electronic communications of a public agency—are public records under Washington state law. Using any personal device or computer for school district business can result in a requirement that you submit your personal device for examination or search if a public records request is received concerning information related to governmental conduct or the performance of any governmental function that may be stored on your personal device.
9.3 The mobile devices that are subject to this policy are those that directly connect to Microsoft Exchange via the ActiveSync Protocol.
9.4 Examples of ActiveSync compatible devices include but are not limited to: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android based mobile phone, tablet device, Windows based mobile phone, etc.
10.0 Violations of Acceptable Use
10.1 Any reasonable belief that user activity has violated this policy and procedure regarding acceptable use should be reported to the school, program, or department administrator responsible for supervision of the use in question. Disciplinary action, if any, for students, staff, and/or other users shall be consistent with the District’s policies and procedures.
10.2 Violations of this policy can constitute reasonable cause for the limitation or revocation of access privileges, suspension of access to Bellingham Public Schools electronic resources. Violations may also result in employee discipline for staff or school disciplinary action for students, as well as other appropriate legal or criminal sanctions, as appropriate.
11.0 Challenging the Denial or Restriction of Access to District Electronic Resources
11.1 If a person is denied access or subject to restricted access to the District’s electronic resources resulting from a determination that the person has violated the District’s acceptable use standards, the denial or restriction may be appealed in the manner described below:
11.2 If access to electronic resources is denied or restricted for an employee, reconsideration of that action may be requested in accordance with appropriate District policies governing discipline, or through the grievance process in accordance with the terms of the staff member’s collective bargaining agreement.
11.3 If access to electronic resources is denied or restricted for a student, the denial or restriction may be grieved or appealed consistent with the procedures for student corrective action in Chapter 392-400 WAC applicable to the discipline, suspension or expulsion being imposed.