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IJNDB - Internet Acceptable Use

Policy IJNDB

Adopted: Originally June 12, 2001; October 21, 2010
Amended: May 3, 2018

The School Committee recognizes that Internet resources and various electronic tools including, but not limited to, laptop and tablet computers, smartphones, and digital cameras change how information may be created, assessed, communicated, and transferred.  The School Committee supports the use of the district’s network and electronic tools by both students and staff for educational purposes, and it recognizes that the District must ensure that students develop the skills that are necessary to appropriately and safely analyze, evaluate, and utilize such resources.  The School Committee expects that staff will blend thoughtful use of such information and tools throughout the curricula and provide guidance and instruction to students in the appropriate use of both, including adherence to copyright and cyber-bullying laws.

The Hopkinton Public Schools shall not be liable for individual user’s inappropriate use of electronic resources or violations of copyright restrictions, user’s mistakes, negligence or costs incurred by users. Users are defined by Hopkinton Public Schools as all people using school networks.

As electronic tools and the Internet are constantly changing and the rate of change is increasing, this policy will be regularly reviewed to ensure currency with new tools or Internet services.

Prohibited Behaviors

The School Committee charges the Superintendent or his/her/their designee with establishing, promoting, and adhering to regulations that maintain legal, ethical, and responsible use of the district’s electronic tools and network, and ensuring that use conforms with Massachusetts and federal law and regulations, as well as the policies of the Hopkinton Public Schools.  The district’s network or electronic tools may not be used for the following:

  • Harassment, discrimination, or bullying.  This includes, but is not limited to, the use of obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language or images that harass and discriminate against a protected class or constitute cyber-bullying.

  • Posting of personal information.  No student or staff member may use the network to post personal addresses, telephone numbers, or personal email addresses of oneself or others without express prior consent of the principal and parents.

  • Sharing of email accounts.  Staff and students will take reasonable precautions to maintain the security of email or other accounts provided by the district by keeping passwords confidential.

  • Plagiarism.  Text, graphics, video, or other content must be used in accordance with copyright law and properly cited.

  • Copying district-purchased and/or copyrighted software.  

  • Accessing confidential information.  No one may gain unauthorized access or intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords for which the person has not been given access, or misrepresent other users on the network.

  • Illegal activity of any type.

The following uses are generally prohibited, with limited exceptions:

  • Commercial or for-profit purposes, including advertising.  Students may not use the district network to offer, provide, or purchase products or services.  However, a staff member may use the network for these purposes as their job requires.

  • Accessing inappropriate material.  Although the district network is filtered in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, it may be possible to access material that is profane, obscene, or pornographic, that advocates illegal acts, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other people.  Such use is prohibited unless a teacher approves a specific, special exception for a student to conduct research.

  • Political lobbying for candidates.  The network may be used, however, within the rights of free speech to communicate with elected representatives and to express opinions on political issues.

  • Uploading or downloading unauthorized software on any district electronic device.  The Director of Technology may authorize downloading of software for district devices.

  • Use of personal hotspots.  Students are not allowed to create or use personal hotspots in school and are prohibited from connecting any device, whether school-owned or student-owned, to the Internet through such personal hotspots while in school buildings or elsewhere on school property during school hours.

Social Networking

  • All staff and students are expected to abide by Social Media Guidelines as indicated in Hopkinton’s Social Media Guidelines.

  • Staff are required to use a Hopkinton email address when establishing social media accounts that will be used for official school business.

Employees will not:

  • Use telephones, social media, or other electronic messaging vehicles for contact with students unrelated to school or school-related activities.

  • List current students as “friends” on social networking sites. 

  • Give out private contact information without prior approval.

  • Make inappropriate contact with staff, students, or parents including:

    • Sharing items with sexual content,

    • Bullying,

    • Harassing, or

    • Exhibiting or advocating use of drugs or alcohol.

Use of District Devices and Electronic Network

All data stored or transmitted on any district electronic device or transmitted from any device on the district network may be monitored, retrieved, downloaded, printed, copied at any time and without notice, as staff and students have no right to privacy with regard to such data.  The information may be disclosed to others, including law enforcement agencies.

The use of the district’s network and electronic tools is a privilege, not a right.  Access to network services will be provided to students and staff who demonstrate continual adherence to this policy.  In addition, no student will be allowed to independently use the network unless parents or guardians provide Acceptable Network Use Permission (IJNDB–FRM1).  Such permission may be provided on a paper copy or electronically in whatever format the district may provide.

Users who violate district policy and guidelines may be subject to disciplinary action.

Legal References:

Title 17 U.S. Copyright law

Massachusetts General Laws: c.66 §10 (public records); c.71 §37h1/2 (felony complaint or conviction of student); c.76 §5 (prohibiting educational discrimination in public schools); c.214 §1c (right to be free from sexual harassment); c.265 §43 (prohibiting stalking); c.266: §37e (use of personal identification of another), §98 (schoolhouse defacement), §120f (unauthorized access to computer system), §127 (personal property malicious or wanton injury), §143a (unauthorized reproduction or transfer of sound recordings); c.269 §17 (prohibiting hazing); c.92 of the Acts of 2010, An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools

603 CMR 49.00

Cross Reference:

JICFB - Bullying

JRD - Photo Restriction

ACAB - Harassment and Discrimination

Procedure References:

IJNDB-FRM1 - Acceptable Network Use Permission Slip

IJNDB-FRM2 - Social Network Contact Approval Form

IJNDB-PRC3 - Social Media Guidelines


**Policy and Language Reviewed by Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C., June 2, 2016 

School Committee Policies