ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY FOR STAFF
All users of the Smithfield Public School District (SPS) computer systems, employees (“staff,” to include full-time & part-time employees, onsite contractors and parent volunteers), are subject to this Acceptable Use Policy. This policy will undergo periodic review to ensure SPS hardware, software, and data systems are used in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner and such use must be in support of the SPS's business and education objectives.
Staff, contractors and volunteers must also recognize their responsibility in ensuring that our students are safe and protected when using technology and related online resources.
Staff Rights and Responsibilities for Using the SPS's Computer Hardware
SPS provides a computer network and devices for staff and others, including but not limited to other staff, students, parents, contractors, volunteers and members of the public.
SPS's Acceptable Use Policy is intended to prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful activities by users online, prevent unauthorized disclosure of or access to sensitive information, and to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act ("CIPA"). As used in this policy, the term "user" includes anyone using the computers, Internet, email, social media, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications or equipment provided by the SPS (the "network."). Only current employees & approved volunteers and vendors are authorized to use the network.
Access is a privilege, not a right, and therefore entails responsibility. If a user is uncertain about whether a particular use is acceptable or appropriate, he or she should consult a supervisor or other appropriate SPS personnel. All users will comply with all SPS regulations and will honor signed agreements.
Staff members shall be required to sign the SPS Acceptable Use Policy annually before Internet or electronic communicating accounts shall be accessed and be allowed. This is facilitated by the administrative offices of SPS at the time of employment and or contract via an electronic form.
Home and Personal Internet Use
Staff home and personal Internet use can have an impact on the school and on other members of the SPS community. If a staff member's personal Internet expression - such as a threatening message to a student or staff member or a violent Web site - creates a likelihood of material disruption of the school's operations, the staff member may face disciplinary and criminal penalties.
Supervision of Student Technology Use
School administration and staff must make a good faith effort to monitor and supervise student use of technology during school hours and on school grounds in a manner that is appropriate to the student’s age and circumstances of use. In addition, algorithms may be utilized by administration to screen for potential safety concerns in coordination with clinical support staff.
In providing supervision of student technology use, it is incumbent upon the staff members to be aware of and report any suspicious activity that may be a violation of any acceptable use policies. Staff should become familiar with both this policy and the student acceptable use policy.
Staff members shall not share their passwords with anyone else, nor shall staff members use anyone else’s password, regardless of how the password is obtained. Staff members who suspect that someone has discovered their password should contact the administrator at their school immediately. Staff members shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users.
Passwords are issued by the Technology Department and may be managed by school officials for all members of the SPS community. Staff will be required to change their password every 90 days and to follow all password rules put forth by the department for the various systems in use and levels of access.
Protection of Identifying Information
Staff members should not reveal on the Internet personal information about themselves or other persons unless necessary to the daily transaction of school business on school issued devices. Identifying information includes, but is not limited to, last names, addresses, telephone numbers, family information, or any other personal information that could be used inappropriately.
SPS's information technology systems store and record information transmitted via email and this record cannot be deleted by the user. SPS may conduct monitoring of messages. Your Smithfield email address is the only official address used for communications.
Staff may not use personal addresses for official business and students and other staff are instructed to communicate with staff and administration using their school-issued email address. Staff may use personal email for casual and emergency contact purposes as a secondary email address.
SPS Access to Student/Staff Files and Emails & Restricted information
Staff use of school SPS computer equipment and network is limited to the educational & business purposes of the SPS. Improper uses include, but are not limited to, gaining illegal access to school SPS records, files, computer programs, student records, and other information maintained by the SPS.
Staff is responsible for following all HIPPA and FERPA related regulations regarding the access to, use and management of student information. Staff position and function can determine levels of access to information on other staff and students. Staff must maintain confidentiality in regards to student information and records, as well as other staff members’ information at all times.
Staff should refer to the Social Media Policy regarding the use of social media while in the employ of Smithfield Public Schools. Use of texting (SMS messaging systems, applications or tools) for direct communications with students or parents is prohibited. All communication with students and parents should use approved channels and SPS issued tools and devices. Please refer to policy IJNDCB - Use of Social Media, Internet Sites and Resources
The Director Technology or other designated SPS employee may, at any time, review the subject, content, and appropriateness of electronic communications or other computer files and may remove them, if warranted. Staff may be asked to participate in the review of student or staff materials and understand the confidentiality of this process.
Users should be aware that use of the network is subject to reasonable and appropriate monitoring by the SPS Technology Department that abides by the requirements of all applicable federal and state laws. Users acknowledge that any email or other communications or transmission may be viewed at any time by the administration. The user has no privacy expectation in any communications sent utilizing the SPS network or its services. Any activities related to or in support of violations of this policy and/or other SPS policies and rules may be reported and will subject the user to appropriate sanctions.
SPS may utilize filtering and/or blocking software to restrict access to Internet sites containing material harmful to minors, such as sexually explicit or other inappropriate materials. The software works by scanning for objectionable words or concepts as determined by the school SPS. However, no internet filter is foolproof. If a user sees another user accessing inappropriate sites or if a user incidentally connects to an inappropriate site, that user site must notify a technology staff member or supervisor and immediately disconnect from the site, as warranted.
Staff shall not use the school SPS's network system to access material that is obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, sexually suggestive, harmful, or otherwise inappropriate, at any time. Staff members shall not tamper with nor attempt to disable the filtering service.
Personal Computer & Mobile Technology
Staff may bring tablets, e-readers, and other communication devices to school subject to the approval of the technology department and provided they are compliant with all compatibility, security and use rules put forth by SPS as long as they do not disrupt the educational process. Staff may not bring personal media devices, such as televisions, wireless access points, printers and or other home-use or consumer artificial intelligence devices without authorization.
Staff must apply for each year the use of any personal devices and equipment that is not subject to ADA compliance laws and regulations. Staff will be asked to register all personal devices used for educational purposes that require wireless or network access. Application is by a form provided by the technology department. Individual schools and system administrators may impose additional restrictions consistent with this policy. SPS is not responsible for the loss, theft, damage, or vandalism to staff personal devices and support is limited to connectivity related issues only.
It is an explicit part of this policy that a staff member may not possess, view, send, or share pictures or text having sexual content at any time using any SPS or personal equipment that is authorized for use on our systems, networks or devices, on or off SPS premises. This policy strictly prohibits sexual material in electronic or any other form and includes but is not limited to the sexual material contained in a cellular telephone, camera phone, tablet computer or e-reader and sexual material transmitted by text message, e-mail, or any electronic communication device. A staff member who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action, dismissal and or possible criminal prosecution.
School personnel are required to report to law enforcement or child protective services whenever there is reason to believe that any student or other person is involved with child exploitation or child pornography. Staff & parents need to be aware of the consequences - some of them life-altering - of having sexual material at school, on any device, including cell phone, personal computer or other electronic communication device, regardless of ownership or use.
Use of Non-SPS Software and Applications
Staff shall not install, purchase, rent or obtain any non-SPS approved application software for use on the SPS network or school workstations. Use of personal computers or devices, subject to aforementioned policy, may contain some software from time to time that is not issued by or managed by SPS. Staff may use these programs for education and business purposes only while on SPS networks, and should refrain from using programs that might interfere with or affect SPS network operations. These prohibited uses include but are not limited to:
● streaming media software & or streaming hardware;
● Artificial intelligence (AI) programs such as Alexa, Google Home or the like;
● file transfer protocol and command line interfaces;
● network monitoring systems or software, wireless transmission devices or software that provides information on the activity or transmission of network traffic;
● Virtual Private Network (VPN) tools or programs NOT provided or authorized by SPS; or
● software or hardware deemed by technology staff to be contraindicated due to possible effect on school, network or district operations.
Staff may NOT download inappropriate files/programs onto SPS network resources, SPS accounts or onto SPS devices. Inappropriate files include, but are not limited to, games, music, video or audio files, or material restricted by the SPS's filtering or blocking software.
Staff members will request permission, when appropriate, to use resources and suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media etc. Staff members will not steal content, media or information and will only use properly purchased and licensed content, media and software. Staff members will properly purchase any music and other media, and refrain from distributing these products by any technological or physical means. All use of media is subject to the policy IJJA - PREVIEWING, SHOWING, AND VIEWING MEDIA, LIVE & RECORDINGS. Staff affirms they will abide by all applicable copyright laws. For more information about copyright, please see http://www.copyright.gov
The following restrictions against inappropriate speech and messages apply to all speech communicated and accessed through the SPS's network including, but not limited to, e-mail, social media, instant messages, web pages, and web logs (blogs, Wiki's, etc.).
● Staff shall not send obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful messages.
● Staff shall not post information that could cause damage, danger, or disruption, or engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.
● Staff shall not harass another person, or knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.
SPS does not tolerate bullying and harassment. Staff shall not use any Internet or other communication device, such as cell or telephone, tablet or computer, to intimidate, bully, harass, or embarrass other staff members. Staff who engage in such activity on school grounds or who engage in such activity off campus and create material disruption of school operations shall be subject to disciplinary measures, possible dismissal from SPS, as well as possible criminal prosecution.
Using the SPS's Network for Personal Reasons
Staff are prohibited from using SPS's network to access the Internet for personal advertising, promotion, or financial gain; or conducting for-profit business activities and/or engaging in non-school related fundraising or public relations activities, such as solicitation for religious purposes or lobbying for personal political purposes. Use of any SPS issued or personal equipment on the SPS networks and systems for such use is prohibited.
Security and Misuse of Resources
Staff may not use devices used by the SPS or computer networks to interfere with another’s ability to use a computing system or network. Staff shall not bypass or disable SPS maintained network security systems. Staff shall not intentionally remove SPS hardware or peripherals from its assigned SPS property without approval of the Director of Technology.
Staff may be issued equipment from time to time that is allowed for remote use. The use of all issued equipment is subject to this policy whether onsite or remote.
Any use of a proxy site on the SPS's system to bypass the established filtering service will result in disciplinary action. A proxy site is defined as any server or service behind our firewall set up without authorization, including ones for non-filter related activity.
Penalties for Improper Use
The use of a SPS account is a privilege not a right and misuse will result in the restriction of privileges, discipline and or termination of employment. Violations of certain provisions in this policy may subject a staff member to possible civil and criminal liability according to applicable federal and state laws.
When inappropriate use is determined by a user's supervisor, the supervisor will notify, in writing, the Director of Technology for the Smithfield Public Schools, who is authorized to terminate the user's access privileges. If a user's access to the SPS Network is suspended as a result of violations of this policy, the member may appeal the suspension to the Superintendent. A violator must understand that if he or she is removed from the SPS Network, there shall be no obligation to provide a subsequent opportunity to access the SPS network.
SPS makes no guarantees about the quality of the services provided and is not responsible for any claims, losses, damages, costs, or other obligations arising from use of the SPS network or accounts. Any additional charges a user accrues due to the use of the SPS's network are to be borne by the user. SPS also denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through user access. Any statement, accessible on the computer network or the Internet, is understood to be the author’s individual point of view and not that of the SPS, its affiliates, or employees.
In consideration of the School Department's providing the use of information technology, the user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Smithfield School Department regarding any claims, costs, and/or damages incurred by the staff member, volunteer or contractor resulting from the use of technology in violation of School Department policy.
SPS disclaims any liability for damages incurred resulting from the use of the technology by an employee, contractor or volunteer.
Policy is presented annually VIA EMAIL/GOOGLE FORM distribution to all staff and the staff member is responsible for acknowledging receipt of and agreeing to the terms of the policy electronically.
By completing and submitting the AUP Google form, I confirm that I have read, understand, and agree to abide by the provisions of the Acceptable Use Policy of the Smithfield Public School District.
ADOPTED: May 20, 2013
REVISED: August 16, 2021