COVID-19 SCHOOL CLOSURES – POLICY AMENDMENTS: Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Internet Access

Aim

The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner.  Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege.  Therefore, if the school AUP is not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions will be imposed.

It is envisaged that school and parent representatives will revise the AUP as deemed necessary.  Before signing, the AUP should be read carefully to indicate that the conditions of use are accepted and understood.  

Due to emergency school closures from March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made changes to our teaching and learning approaches to facilitate online learning practices.  This updated document provides guidance for the school community on these changes. 

School’s Strategy

The school will employ a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet.  The strategies apply to staff and pupils when using school resources, representing the school or wearing the school uniform.  These strategies are as follows:

General:

  • Internet sessions in school will always be supervised by a teacher.
  • Safe-Surfing settings, on school devices, will be used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate materials.
  • The school will regularly monitor Internet usage in school.
  • Pupils and teachers will be provided with training in the area of Internet safety and Digital Citizenship.
  • Uploading and downloading of non-approved software is not permitted. 
  • Bulldog Anti-Virus software will be used and updated as necessary.
  • The use of personal memory sticks in school requires a teacher’s permission.
  • Students and staff will observe good “netiquette” at all times. They will not undertake any actions that may be considered disrespectful to members of the school community, or bring the school into disrepute. 
  • School staff has access to all files used on school computers, including e-mail messages sent and received by pupils.  
  • School devices may record details of what pupils have viewed on the Internet.  These records may be reviewed by school staff. 

World Wide Web:

  • Pupils or staff will not intentionally visit internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
  • Pupils will use the Internet for educational purposes only.
  • Pupils and staff will be educated regarding copyright issues relating to online materials.
  • Pupils  will never disclose or publicise their own or others personal information 
  • Pupils or staff will be aware that any internet usage may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
  • Pupils will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone that they have “met” on the Internet.

E-mail:

  • Pupils may only use approved school email accounts under the supervision of or with permission from a teacher.
  • Pupils or staff will not intentionally send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene or defamatory or that is intended to harm or intimidate another person.
  • Pupils  must have permission to send and open email attachments. 

Internet Discussion:

  • Students will only have access to discussion forums or other electronic communication forums that have been approved by the school.
  • Discussion forums and other electronic communication forums will only be used for educational purposes and will always be supervised.

School Social Media

  • Pupils, in consultation with their teachers, will be given the opportunity to publish their work through the school social media sites (e.g. school website, blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Class Dojo…)
  • The publication of student work will be coordinated by a teacher.
  • Pupil’s work will appear in an educational context on school sites.
  • Digital photographs, audio or video clips of individual students will not be published on the school sites. Instead these will focus on group activities. Individual pupils will not be identified by name.
  • Photos or videos showing pupils’ faces will not be published on Facebook.
  • Pupil’s home address and contact details will be omitted from school social media posts.
  • Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.
  • Regularly during the school year, parents are requested not to share any photos of other people’s children on their social media, without permission.  This includes photos which they may take themselves at school events, or photos shared by the school. 

Legislation:

There is no specific legislation governing Internet safely at school level.  Complicating this issue is the fact that the Internet functions in a global context whereas the law operates in a localised one.  There are, however; a number of legislations that have relevance to Internet safety.  Copies of each of these Acts can be found online. All teachers, students and parents should familiarise themselves with these Acts. They are briefly described as follows:

The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998This Act legislates against anyone who knowingly produces, prints, publishes, distributes, exports, imports, shows, possesses or sells child pornography. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1998_22.html

1993 Interception Act: (The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Regulation Act 1993).  This Act stipulates that telecommunication messages can be intercepted for the purpose of an investigation of a serious offence.  Authorisations are subject to certain conditions. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1993_10.html

Video Recordings Act 1989: The 1989 Video Recordings Act prohibits the distribution of videos which contain obscene or indecent material which may lead to the depravation or corruption of the viewer. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA22Y1989.html

The Data Protection Act 1988: This Act was passed in order to deal with privacy issues arising from the increasing amount of information kept on computer about individuals. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA25Y1988.html

Sanctions:

  • If any of the above conditions/rules are broken, it will result in a temporary or permanent ban on Internet and/or computer use.
  • Additional disciplinary action may be taken in line with existing approved school practice.

Policy Review

The Ravenswell Acceptable Use policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is compliant with current legislation and school practice.  The review will be led by the Digital Learning Team in consultation with school management and staff, pupils and parents. 

Ratification and Communication

The Board of Management ratified this revised policy at its meeting on XXXXX.  A copy will be available on the school website.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management at its meeting on the XXXXX.

AUP Letter to Parents

Dear Parent/Guardian,

As part of the school’s programme we offer pupils supervised access to the Internet.

This will allow pupils vast educational opportunities, e.g. helping them to access a wide range of resources, communicate with subject experts and participate in school projects locally and globally.  Pupils will also learn valuable skills which may be useful for their future careers.

The Internet is a global computer network which is not controlled by any organisation.  This means that information may change, disappear and be controversial or potentially harmful.  Although the school actively seeks to promote safe use of the internet, it recognises the possibility that students may accidentally or deliberately access objectionable material.

Usage to the Internet requires responsibility on the part of the user and the school.  These responsibilities are outlined in the school Acceptable Use Policy.  It is, therefore, important that the enclosed policy is carefully read and signed by the pupils and a parent or guardian.

We appreciate that parents and guardians are responsible for setting the standards that their children should follow when using technology.  To that end, the school supports and respects each family’s right to decide whether or not to allow access to the Internet as defined by the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.

Yours Sincerely,

_________________

Emer Breen

School Principal.

Internet Use Permission Form – Parents and Pupils

Please review the attached school Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), discuss it with your child, and sign and return this permission form.

Name of Pupil: _________________ Class: ___________________

Pupil:

I agree to follow the school’s AUP on the use of the Internet.  I will use the Internet in a responsible way and obey all the rules explained to me by the school.

Pupil’s Signature: ________________________ Date: ___________________

Parent/Guardian:

As the parent or legal guardian of the above pupil, I have read the AUP and grant permission for my child to access the Internet.  I understand that Internet access is designed for educational purposes.  I also understand that every reasonable precaution has been taken by the school to provide for online safety but the school cannot be held responsible if pupils access unsuitable websites.

Signature: _________________________ Date: ___________________

Publishing pupils’ photos, videos or work online:

I understand that, if the school considers it appropriate, my child’s photo, video or schoolwork may be chosen for inclusion on the school’s social media (e.g. website, blog, Twitter stream, Facebook account or Class Dojo) in keeping with the terms of the school Acceptable Use Policy.

I understand and accept the terms of the AUP relating to publishing children’s images or work online.

Signature: _________________________ Date: ___________________