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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 6-64.1

INSTRUCTION

Acceptable Use of Computer Systems

  1. Purpose

    This regulation defines the responsibilities of all users of School Division computer systems as defined in School Board Policy 6-62.

    Effective performance of computer and telecommunications networks, whether local or global, relies upon end users adhering to established standards of proper conduct. This regulation defines the responsibilities of Virginia Beach City Public Schools employees, non-employees, and students using the computer systems. In general, this requires efficient, ethical, and legal utilization of the computer systems. If a user violates any of these provisions, his or her access to the computer systems will be revoked and disciplinary action taken. This resource, as with any other public resources, demands that those entrusted with the privilege of its use be accountable. Use of the computer systems must support education and/or research or school business, the mission of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and be in accordance with all School Board policies and regulations. Access to the computer systems is a privilege, not a right.

    Appropriate uses of the computer systems must be for educational purposes related to School Division business and may include, but are not limited to, promoting educational excellence, resource sharing, facilitating innovative instruction and communication and preparing students to live and work in the 21st century by providing them with electronic access to a wide range of information and the ability to communicate with others within and outside the School Division. Further, the computer systems will enable employees to upgrade skills and knowledge through the enhanced ability to exchange information with peers. The computer systems will also assist the School Division in sharing information with the local community, including parents, local, state and federal governmental departments, agencies or employees and businesses.

  2. Responsibilities

    The Chief Information Officer shall serve as the administrator overseeing the use of the computer systems. The principal or department head shall serve as the site coordinator overseeing the use of computer systems within a school or department/office.

    The Chief Information Officer or designee shall be responsible for, among other things, authorizing and establishing employee, non-employee, and student accounts; setting quotas for computer systems resources where appropriate; establishing data retention schedules; establishing a School Division virus protection process; and ensuring that processes are in place requiring each employee and non-employee accessing the computer systems to sign the Acceptable Use Agreement and requiring parents/legal guardians or adult students to acknowledge the receipt of and compliance with the Acceptable Use Policy as included in the Code of Student Conduct by signing the “Parent Acknowledgement Form” referenced in Section E of this regulation.

  3. Technology Services Provided through the Computer Systems
    1. Electronic Resources: This includes all administrative and instructional applications and all associated data and content.
    2. E-mail: E-mail will allow account holders to communicate with others within and outside the School Division.
    3. Internet: The Internet provides access to a wide range of information in the form of text, graphics, photographs, video and sound. The Internet is a valuable research tool for students and employees.
    4. Filtering: The School Division provides filtered Internet access. Filtering levels for all students are determined by the Chief Academic Officer. The Department of School Leadership determines filtering levels for school employees.
  4. Access to Computer Systems

    The prohibitions set forth in School Board Policy 6-64 and herein will govern all use of the computer systems. Student use of the computer systems will also be governed by the Code of Student Conduct and School Board policies and regulations governing student discipline.

  5. Parental Notification and Responsibility

    The School Division will notify parents/legal guardians/adults students about the School Board policies and regulations governing the use of the computer systems. The Acceptable Use Policy is integrated into the Code of Student Conduct, which must be signed annually acknowledging receipt and understanding of the policies and regulations. The School Division believes that computer and Internet access are integral elements of the teaching and learning environment and of uniform delivery of instructional content. Parents/legal guardians/adults students will be required to sign the “Parent Acknowledgement Form” at the beginning of the school year acknowledging that they have read and understand School Board policies and regulations governing computer use. Implicit in this acknowledgment is that these policies and regulations have been reviewed with/by the student.

    A wide range of material is available on the Internet, some of which may not be consistent with the values of particular families. It is not possible for the School Division to monitor and enforce social values in student use of the Internet. Further, the School Division recognizes that families bear primary responsibility for transmitting their particular set of family values to their children. Therefore, the School Division encourages families to specify to their child(ren) what material is and is not acceptable for their child(ren) to access through the computer systems.

  6. Limitation of Liability

    The School Division makes no warranties of any kind, either express or implied, that the functions of the services provided by or through the computer systems will be error-free or without defect. The School Division will not be responsible for any damage users may suffer, including but not limited to, loss of data or interruptions of service. The School Division is not responsible for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through or stored on the computer systems. The School Division will not be responsible for financial obligations or penalties arising through the unauthorized use of the computer systems.

  7. Due Process

    The School Division will cooperate fully with local, state and federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the School Division computer systems.

    In the event that there is an allegation that a student has violated the School Division 's Acceptable Use Policy or the provisions of this regulation, the student will be provided with a written notice of the alleged violation and his/her account privileges may be suspended immediately. The student will be given an opportunity to present an explanation for a final determination regarding continuing access to the computer systems (see Code of Student Conduct).

    Disciplinary actions will be tailored to meet the specific concerns related to the violation and to assist the student in gaining the self-discipline necessary to behave appropriately while using computer systems. If the alleged infraction involves a violation of other provisions of the Code of Student Conduct or other School Board policies and regulations governing student discipline, the violation will be handled in accordance with School Board Policy 5-21 and its implementing regulations.

    Employees violating the Acceptable Use Policy and the provisions of this regulation are subject to disciplinary action by the Superintendent or designee. Violations of the Acceptable Use Policy and the provisions of this regulation may subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, depending upon the nature of the violation. Violations of the Acceptable Use Policy and this regulation may result in immediate suspension of access privileges to the computer systems. The employee will be given notice of violation and the opportunity to provide explanation prior to a determination regarding continuing access to the computer systems.

    Non-employees violating the Acceptable Use Policy and the provisions of this regulation shall have their access privileges immediately suspended and shall be subject to legal action and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. At the school level, non-employees will obtain approval from and be monitored by the school principal and/or designee.

  8. Search and Seizure

    Computer systems users have no right of privacy and should have no expectation of privacy in materials sent, received or stored in computer systems. School officials reserve the right to review computer systems use at any time to determine if such use meets the criteria set forth in School Board policies and regulations. Routine maintenance and monitoring of the computer systems may lead to the discovery that the user has or is violating the Acceptable Use Policy and this regulation, the Code of Student Conduct or other School Board policies and regulations governing student discipline or the law. Once a problem is discovered, an individual search will be conducted when there is a reasonable suspicion that the user has violated the law, the Code of Student Conduct or School Board policies and regulations governing student discipline. The nature of the search/investigation will be reasonable and in keeping with the nature of the alleged misconduct.

    Employees should be aware that their personal files may be subject to public inspection and copying under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

  9. Copyright, Plagiarism and Attribution

    School Board policies and regulations will govern the use of material accessed through the computer systems. Because the extent of copyright protection of certain works found on the Internet is unclear, users will make a standard practice of requesting permission from the holder of the work if their use of the material has the potential of being considered an infringement. Teachers will instruct students to respect copyright and to request permission to use copyrighted material in an instructional setting when appropriate.

    School Board policies and regulations on plagiarism will govern the use of material accessed through the computer systems. Teachers will instruct students in appropriate research and proper methods of attribution.

  10. Academic Freedom, Selection of Material, Student Rights to Free Speech

    School Board policies and regulations on academic freedom and free speech will govern the use of the Internet.

    When using the Internet for class activities, teachers will select material that is appropriate in light of the age of the students and that is relevant to the course objectives. Teachers will preview the materials and sites they require or recommend that students access to determine the appropriateness of the materials, links, and sites for appropriateness before requiring or recommending their use to the students. Teachers will provide guidelines and lists of resources to assist their students in channeling their research activities effectively and properly. Teachers will assist their students in developing the skills to ascertain the truthfulness of information, distinguish fact from opinion, and engage in discussions about controversial issues which demonstrates tolerance and respect for those who hold divergent views.

  11. Political Use of the Computer Systems

    Users may not use the computer systems to engage in partisan political activities as defined in School Board Regulation 4-29.1. Employee Associations may not use the computer systems to conduct Association business.

  12. School Division Website

    The School Division has established a website that presents information about the School Division. The Chief Media and Communications Officer or designee is responsible for maintaining the School Division website. The principals or their designee are responsible for overseeing the development and content of their schools’ websites.

  13. School Division Requirements of Acceptable Use: Students

    Students will abide by the School Division 's Acceptable Use Policy as part of the Code of Student Conduct. Any student who fails to comply with the terms of the Acceptable Use Policy (6-64) or the regulations developed by the Superintendent may lose computer systems privileges, may be disciplined in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct or other School Board policies and regulations governing student discipline, and/or may be the subject of appropriate legal action.

    1. Personal Safety (Restrictions are for students only):
      1. Students will not post personal contact information about themselves or other people. Personal contact information includes home, school or work addresses, telephone numbers, etc.
      2. Minor students will not agree to meet with someone they have met online without the approval of their parents or legal guardians.
      3. Students will promptly disclose to a teacher or other administrator or school employee any message they receive that is inappropriate, offensive or makes them feel uncomfortable.
    2. Illegal Activities
      1. Users will not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the computer systems or to any other computer system through the computer systems, or go beyond their authorized access. This includes attempting to log in through another account or accessing or attempting to access another person's files without authorization. Unauthorized access is illegal, even if only for the purpose of browsing.
      2. Users will not deliberately attempt to disrupt the computer systems configuration or controls, degrade system performance, or destroy/corrupt data by spreading computer viruses or by any other means.
      3. Users will not use the computer systems to send, receive, view or download any illegal materials or engage in any other illegal act (e.g. arranging for the sale/purchase of drugs, engaging in criminal gang activity, pornography or threatening the safety of another individual).
    3. Computer Systems Security
      1. Users are responsible for the use of their individual account and should take all precautions to prevent others from being able to use their accounts.
      2. Users will immediately notify the Chief Information Officer if they have identified a possible security breach.
    4. Inappropriate Language
      1. Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to public messages, private messages and material posted on Web pages. Users will conduct themselves in a manner that is appropriate and proper as representatives of the School Division.
      2. Users will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening or disrespectful language.
      3. Users will not post information that, if acted upon, could cause damage or a danger of disruption.
      4. Users will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.
      5. Users will not harass other individuals. Harassment in this context is defined as persistently acting in a manner that distresses or annoys another person. If a user is told by a person to stop sending them messages, the user must stop doing so.
      6. Users will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.
    5. Respect for Privacy
      1. Users will not post private information about another person.
    6. Respecting Resource Limits
      1. Users will use the computer systems for education and School Division sponsored and/or authorized professional activities.
      2. Users will not download or transmit large files unless absolutely necessary for school business. If necessary, users will download the file at a time when the computer systems are not being heavily used.
      3. Users will not send unsolicited or unnecessary messages to a large number of people, a practice commonly referred to as Spamming.
      4. Users should use the e-mail system only as a transport and not as a repository for storing e-mail messages. Users who need to retain specific emails to comply with Library of Virginia records retention requirements must save them electronically outside the e-mail system or in hard copy format.
      5. Employees will subscribe only to discussion group mail lists that are School Division sponsored/authorized, affiliated and/or relevant to school business.
    7. Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
      1. Users will not plagiarize works that they find on the Internet. Plagiarism is taking the ideas of writings of others and presenting them as if they were original to the user. Users will use proper methods of attribution.
      2. Users will respect the rights of copyright owners. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual inappropriately reproduces a work that is protected by a copyright. If a work contains language that specifies acceptable use of that work, the user should follow the expressed requirement. If the user is unsure whether or not he can use a work, he should request permission from the copyright owner.
    8. Inappropriate Access to Material
      1. Users will not use the computer systems to access material that is profane or obscene (pornography), that advocates illegal acts, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other people (hate literature). For students, a special exception may be made for hate literature only if the purpose of such access is to conduct research and access is approved both by the teacher and the parents/legal guardians of minor children.
      2. All resources accessed by students via school computers or other technology equipment must support the curriculum.
    9. Internet Safety

      In order to ensure safe and appropriate use of the Internet and its resources, a program of Internet safety shall be integrated into the instructional program for students. Additionally, instructional staff shall receive training on related Internet safety topics.

Editor’s Notes

The provisions listed below can be accessed through the School Division Website at www.vbschools.com
See School Board Policy 6-62 – Computer Systems
See School Board Regulation 6-62.1 – Computer Systems
See School Board Policy 6-64 – Acceptable Use Policy
See School Board Policy 4-32 – Employee Associations
See School Board Policy 5-39 – Publications
See School Board Regulation 5-39.1 – Student Publications

Legal Reference:

Code of Virginia § 22.1-70.2, as amended. Acceptable Internet use policies for public and private schools.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as amended, Title II: Preparing, Training, and RecruitingHigh Quality Teachers and Principals, Part D: Enhancing Education through Technology, Subpart 4: Limitation on Availability of Certain Funds for Schools. Section 2441 Internet Safety.

Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2012, as amended.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-70.2, as amended. Family Involvement in Technology program.

Code of Virginia §2.2-3700 et seq., as amended, Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Library of Virginia, Records Management Resources.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Code of Student Conduct.

Approved by Superintendent: July 18, 1995
Revised by Superintendent: August 18, 1997
Revised by Superintendent: December 29, 1999
Revised by Superintendent: August 25, 2003
Revised by Superintendent: August 19, 2008
Revised by Superintendent: June 20, 2013