Hingham Public Schools Policies and Procedures

Computer and Internet Acceptable Use Policy for Students

The Hingham Public Schools recognize the educational value of technology equipment and access to the Internet when used properly.

Use of the District’s computers and technology equipment, including access to the Internet, is a privilege and requires the user to be responsible for his or her behavior and for communications over the District’s networks. The policy, policy guidelines, and sign-off procedures for use of technology resources shall be published and are described for students under Procedure 6.29A. Neither staff nor students should have an expectation of privacy with respect to the use of the District’s hardware and software.

PROCEDURE

Policy Guidelines and Procedures for Internet and Technology Use

The Hingham Public School system provides computers and technical equipment for the professional use of teachers, administrators, and other staff, and as educational aids for students.

Use of any of the Hingham Public School District’s computer systems is limited to school-related activities. Administration and classroom systems can be re-allocated at the discretion of the school administration or technology department without advance notice.

The Hingham Public School District makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the computer services it is providing. Hingham Public Schools will not be responsible for any damages resulting from delays or service interruptions caused by its own negligence or its errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at your own risk. Hingham Public Schools specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its computer services.

The following set of technology policy guidelines applies to all users of Hingham Public Schools’ computer systems. Use of District technology resources is a privilege, not a right. Use of these resources demands personal responsibility and an understanding of acceptable uses of the Internet. Depending on the nature and degree of the violation and the number of previous violations, unacceptable use of District technology resources may result in one or more of the following consequences:

  • Suspension or cancellation of use or access privileges.
  • Denial of future access.
  • Payments for damages and/or repairs.
  • Discipline under other applicable District policies, including suspension and termination.
  • Civil or criminal liability under other applicable laws.

Users who violate policy guidelines will be subject to disciplinary procedures. The District will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation related to any illegal activities conducted using the District’s technology resources. These regulations may be amended and updated at the discretion of Hingham Public Schools’ administration.

  1. District Computers, including installed software, hardware and peripheral devices, are theproperty of Hingham Public Schools. Computer systems are to be used for school-relatedactivities, and are not to be removed from the premises without written permission fromthe District’s Manager of Technology
  2. The use of a user’s personal electronic device (including, but not limited to, deviceclassifications such as smartphones, computers, and tablets) on the school network or onthe District’s Internet connection subjects the user to the terms of this policy.
  3. Users should not have any expectation of privacy with respect to personal data stored onHingham Public Schools’ computers. Electronic mail (E-mail) messages are consideredpublic records and are therefore legally discoverable and subject to record retention. Usersshould not expect that electronic mail messages (even those marked “Personal”) are privateor confidential.
  4. The Hingham Public School system may monitor electronic mail and Internet activities onthe schools’ computer systems for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

a. system checks

b. reviews of productivity

c. investigations into claims of possible criminal activity

d. investigations into inappropriate use of the District’s Internet connection

5. Use of the District’s computer systems constitutes consent to monitoring of E-mail transmissions and other online services, and is conditioned upon strict adherence to this policy

6. The following activities are strictly prohibited:

a. Any illegal activity, including, but not limited to, the transmission of copyright or trade secret material, or the participation in any type of criminal activity.

b. Attempts to violate the computer security systems implemented by the Hingham Public Schools, Town of Hingham, or other institutions, organizations, companies or individuals.

c. Accessing material that is inappropriate for school use, such as Internet sites promoting pornography, gambling, or hate.

d. Attempts to circumvent the Internet filtering capabilities of the Hingham Public Schools or the school systems’ Internet provider(s).

e. Plagiarism, or any reproduction of copyrighted material without explicit permission.

f. The use of profanity or inappropriate language in electronic mail.

g. Use of school computer systems for political or commercial purposes.

h. Using school computer systems to send unsolicited bulk E-mail
(SPAM).

i.Developing or disseminating malicious software programs, such as computer viruses.

j.Downloading, installing, or copying any commercial software,shareware, or freeware onto network drives or disks without written permission from the network administrator or the District’s Technology Manager.

k.Misrepresentation of your identity by using another user’s account,or by masking your own identity.

7. No profane, abusive, or impolite language should be used to communicate, nor should materials be accessed which are not in line with the rules of school behavior. Should a user encounter such material by accident, the user should report it to an appropriate authority immediately.

 8.In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Hingham has installed filtering and/or blocking software to restrict access to Internet sites containing material harmful to minors. The software scans for objectionable words or concepts, as determined by the Hingham Public School District. Students and staff may not disable the District’s filtering software at any time when students are using the Internet if such disabling will cease to protect students against access to inappropriate materials. Staff authorized by the District’s Manager of Technology may temporarily or permanently unblock access to sites containing appropriate materials if the filtering software has inappropriately blocked access to such sites.

9. Staff must supervise student use of the District’s Internet system in a manner that is appropriate to the students’ ages and the circumstances of use.

10. The following restrictions against inappropriate speech and messages apply to all speech communicated and accessed through the District technology resources, including all email,instant messages, Web pages, and Web logs:

a. Users shall not send obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory,threatening, or disrespectful messages.

b. Users shall not post information that could cause damage, danger, or disruption,or engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.

c. Users shall not harass other persons, or knowingly or recklessly post false ordefamatory information about a person or organization.

11. Users’ home and personal Internet use can have an impact on the school and on other District users. If a user’s personal Internet expression – such as sending a threatening message to another District user – creates, in the view of the principal or principal’s designee, the likelihood of material disruption of the school’s operations, that user may face school discipline and criminal penalties.

12. Hingham takes bullying and harassment by computer very seriously. No District user shall use any Internet or other communication device to intimidate, bully, harass, or embarrass other students or staff members. Users who engage in such activity on school grounds or who engage in such activity off campus and create a material disruption of school operations, in the view of the principal, shall be subject to penalties for bullying and harassment as contained in the student handbook, as well as possible criminal penalties.

In the event of an allegation that a student has violated this policy, the District will provide the user with notice and an opportunity to be heard in the manner set forth in the student handbook.