Four policies guiding the use of technology in were changed this week after the alterations were unanimously approved by the school board. The policies were updated to reflect accurate language for today's technology.
The board's policy committee recommended the changes after several recent meetings.
The policies altered are:
- Computer Technology and Networks
- Student Network and Internet Acceptable Use and Safety
- Staff Network and Internet Acceptable Use and Safety
- Cell Phones and Electronic Communication Devices
The first three were edited to include some changes as required by changes in federal law concerning the Children's Internet Protection Act, which says school officials are responsible for educating students about online safety.
In addtion, new language was also added to the Staff Network policy addressing staff access to social media sites from the district's network. The changes were recommended by the policy committee but not necessarily related to changes in federal law.
Two employees who sit on a technology panel for the district backed the changes to the policies explaining they more accurately reflect the use of technology in the schools than the old language and are more useful in the altered state.
Next month, the board will vote on more policies.
Board member Brendan Walsh provided background information on the policies that will come before the board then, which include:
- a process for adding items to the board agenda
- a policy related to students who obtain a criminal conviction requiring registration on the state's sex offender registery
- the policy on bullying and aggressive behavior
The first policy, adding an item to the agenda is simply meant to streamline the process in which board members use to add a new topic, Walsh said. The board has ways to get items on the agenda but there is no policy guiding how the items may be handled, he said.
A suggested alteration included written submission to the board president no later than seven days before a meeting, which Walsh said would then help meet the packet mailing deadline of five days.
After much discussion by some board members who had concerns with the seven day cutoff, it was edited to five days in advance. The board only voted to change the edits to the policy and did not vote upon accepting the change to the policy.
The second policy concerning the sex offender registry is a suggested addition and complies with state law that requires such a policy to address how to handle the education of a student who must register following a conviction.
Walsh said the policy gives district officials some direction about how to handle the Individual Education Plan for students with a conviction that is sexual in nature, noting the district has not had anything like this before.
It basically outlines that the student's access to the school is limited to instruction time and that restrictions, if any, may be implemented by the principal if approved by the superintendent. Any restrictions will be provided to the student and their parent in writing and the restrictions could include extra curricular activities based on the nature of the conviction.
The last policy addressing bullying adds some language that update the district's policy to include state requirements on the topic, Walsh said. The district has had a policy on this topic already and this just adds more information to the policy, he said.