A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF ACCESS
1)The Department of Education of the City of New York (the “Department") is obtaining access to the Internet, including access to e-mail, for its employees, Department members, students, and guests. Guests include but are not limited to parents, substitute teachers, temporary Department employees, parent volunteers, and other school volunteers.
2) Internet access and the use of e-mail through the use of the Department's system, has a limited educational purpose. The term "educational purpose" includes use of the system by students and their parents for learning activities both in school and at home, employee professional or career development, communication between teachers, students and their parents and the facilitation of information-sharing between teachers and administrators throughout the New York City school system. If any user has a question whether their Internet use is consistent with the Department’s educational purpose, goals, and mission, s/he should consult with the appropriate supervisor, principal, teacher, etc.
This Internet Acceptable Use Policy governs all electronic activity, including e-mail and access to the Internet, which is undertaken by Department of Education employees, students, and parents/guardians either in their official Department of Education capacity or as part of the educational, instructional or extracurricular programs connected to the Department. No Department of Education employee, student, or parent/guardian may engage in activities prohibited by this IAUP, whether through the Department's Internet service or through another Internet Service Provider, when those activities are undertaken either in their official Department of Education capacity or as part of the educational, instructional, or extracurricular programs of the Department of Education.
As with other curricular offerings and tools, parents do not have a general right to opt their child out of classroom use of the Internet. As set forth more fully below however, parental consent is required with respect to certain aspects of Internet use (e.g., posting a child’s photograph on a school web page). Parents moreover, are strongly encouraged to discuss and monitor their child’s school Internet use and to discuss any issues or concerns that they may have with the school’s teacher and administrators.
3) Student access to the Internet will be governed by this policy, related Department regulations, and the Citywide Standards of Conduct and Uniform Disciplinary Measures ("the student disciplinary code"). Employee use will be governed by this policy, related Department regulations, Department employment policy, and applicable collective bargaining agreements. All use will be in compliance with the acceptable use provisions of the Internet service provider.
4) The Department reserves the right to terminate any user’s access to the Internet, including access to e-mail, at any time and for any reason. The Department reserves the right to monitor all Internet access, including all e-mail, through use of the Department’s system. The Department specifically reserves the right to revoke access and/or take other appropriate disciplinary action, with respect to any user who violates this policy.
B. SYSTEM RESPONSIBILITIES
1) The Department reserves the right to revise this Internet Acceptable Use Policy as it deems necessary and will post the current policy on its web site as notice to users of any revisions. Users are responsible for reading the policy regularly.
2) Users who require technical assistance with Internet access or e-mail should call the ProgTech offices at (718) 392-3330 or (718) 392-3309.
The Department has installed Internet filtering software in an attempt to block user access to inappropriate and/or harmful text on the Internet. The software works by scanning web site addresses, web site content, e-mail and other documents for objectionable words or concepts. Objectionable words and concepts are pre-determined by the Department. When the software finds any such objectionable words or concepts, it denies the user access to them based on the level of access assigned to the word or concept by the Department. Generally, levels of access go from the least restrictive level, which allows users access to the web site or document that contains the word or concept, to the most restrictive level, which denies users access to the web site or document that contains the word or concept.
There are levels between these two levels that neither automatically allow or automatically deny access but rather, prompts the software to perform a more in-depth review of the web site or document to determine whether it is objectionable (e.g., for high school students, the word or concept “breast” would fall into this intermediate level so a student who is doing research on breast cancer would be allowed access to web sites or documents related to “breasts” but a student looking for pornography would be denied access to pornography related to “breasts”). Filtering technology is not perfect and therefore, may in effect interfere with legitimate educational research.
Default filtering levels for grades 9 through 12: The filter is set at the most restrictive setting in restricting access to Internet sites that may contain interactive chat or mail or information regarding:
- sex acts
- sex attire
- basic sex education
- advanced sex education
The filter is modified to be less restrictive consistent with age and educational goals.
When using the Internet for class activities, teachers should:
a) Select material that is appropriate in light of the age of the students and that is relevant to the course objectives.
b) Preview the materials and sites they require students to access to determine the appropriateness of the material contained on or accessed through the site.
c) Provide guidelines and lists of resources to assist their students in channeling their research activities effectively and properly.
d) Assist their students in developing the skills to ascertain the truthfulness of information, distinguish fact from opinion, and engage in discussions about controversial issues while demonstrating tolerance and respect for those who hold divergent views.