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Acceptable Use Policy

For Technology and the Internet for School District Employees

The following Policy must be agreed to by the employee before access will be provided to District computer network and Internet/e-mail access. Use of such facilities after receipt of this Policy is deemed to constitute agreement.


Introduction

Warwick Valley Central School District provides access to computers and the Internet in order to support learning and enhance instruction. By providing access to the Internet, the District promotes educational excellence and prepares students for an increasingly technological world. This use should facilitate resource sharing, research, innovation and communication.

However, the District also recognizes that with this access comes the availability of material which is unrelated to scholarship, and which in many instances is inappropriate for places of learning.

For this reason, District computers or a personal electronic device may only be used in a manner consistent with this policy.

Computer, network and Internet facilities (including, without limitation, e-mail and discussion groups) are to be used only for purposes directly related to work, teaching or scholarship. Personally owned computers or computer equipment may be connected to the District network wirelessly. Employees should use their own computers and their own Internet access arrangements for all other purposes.

Much of the responsibility for appropriate use of the Internet must rest on employees themselves.

Employees must understand that access to District computer and Internet facilities is a revocable privilege, and not a right. Use of the system can and will be monitored by the District, and there is no expectation of privacy in employee use.

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Applicability and General Principles

These policies apply to all employees who gain access to the Internet wirelessly, via computer equipment, and/or access lines located in the District. This includes any remote access which employees may gain from off-site, but which involves the use of District sites, servers, intranet facilities, e-mail accounts or software.

All access to and use of the Internet must be for the purposes of work, teaching or scholarship consistent with the educational goals of the District.

Employees must make efficient, ethical and legal utilization of network resources. Employees must be aware that material created, stored on, or transmitted from or via the system is not private. In addition to the fact that the Internet is inherently insecure, District network administrators may review the system at any time to ensure that the system is being used properly. For this reason, employees should expect that e-mails, materials placed on personal Web pages, and other work that is created on the network may be viewed by a third party.

Authorized users who have been assigned unique log-in identification codes (“usernames” and passwords) will be provided with access and, where appropriate, with storage by or through District hardware. Authorized users will be personally responsible for maintaining the integrity of the District’s network, and may not permit other persons to use their usernames, passwords, accounts or disk space, or disclose their usernames, passwords or account information to any third party. Users must respect the integrity and security of the District’s systems and network, and the access privileges, privacy and reasonable preferences of other users.

The District makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. It is not responsible for any damages, including loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or service interruptions, whether caused by the District or third party negligence, or by a user’s errors or omissions. Information obtained from the Internet is used at the user’s own risk, and the District specifically disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained by employees via access provided by or through the District.

The following policies are intentionally broad in scope and, therefore, may include references to resources, technology and uses not yet available.

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Rules of Conduct and Compliance

Employees who violate this Acceptable Use Policy may have their access privileges suspended or revoked by the network administrator. In addition, further disciplinary action may be taken as permitted by applicable law and the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

All policies and prohibitions regarding users of the network and anyone accessing the Internet through the District, shall also apply to users of individual District computers or personal electronic devices.

  1. The network may not be used to download, copy, or store any software, unless approved by a network administrator.
  2. With the exception of educational software installed and/or modified by a faculty member for instructional purposes, users may not add any software or applications to the District’s network or computers, or add to or modify any existing software or applications, without the express permission of the network administrator. Any software which is installed must be properly licensed from the copyright owner thereof, and any modifications must comply with the terms of the applicable license(s).
  3. The network may not be used for any commercial purposes, and users may not buy or sell products or services through the system.
  4. The network may not be used for advertising, political campaigning, or political lobbying.
  5. The network may not be used for any activity, or to transmit any material, that violates United States, New York State or local laws. This includes, but is not limited to, fraudulent acts, violations of copyright laws, and any threat or act of intimidation or harassment against another person.
  6. The District is a place of tolerance and good manners. Use of the network or any District computer facilities for hate mail, defamatory statements, statements intended to injure or humiliate others by disclosure of personal information (whether true or false), personal attacks on others, and statements expressing animus towards any person or group by reason of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, creed, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability is prohibited. Network users may not use vulgar, derogatory, or obscene language. Network users may not post anonymous messages or forge e-mail or other messages.
  7. Users are strongly advised to use caution about revealing any information on the Internet which would enable others to exploit them or their identities: this includes last names, home addresses, Social Security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers or financial institution account information, and photographs. Under no circumstances should a user reveal such information about another person without that person’s express or prior consent.
  8. Network users may not log on to someone else’s account, attempt to access another user’s files, or permit anyone else to log on to their own accounts. Users may not try to gain unauthorized access (“hacking”) to the files or computer systems of any other person or organization. However, employees must be aware that any information stored on or communicated through the District network may be susceptible to “hacking” by a third party.
  9. Network users may not access Web sites, news groups, or chat areas that contain material that is obscene or that promotes illegal acts. Likewise, use of the network to access, create, or transmit pornographic material (whether visual or written), or material which contains dangerous recipes, formulas or instructions, is prohibited.
  10. Users may not access news groups, chat rooms, list servers, or other services where they may communicate with people outside of the District (specifically including e-mail) except for District business. While some incidental use of such facilities may nonetheless occur, such incidental use will not be deemed a waiver of the District’s right to prohibit all such use, either on an individually-applicable or on a generally-applicable basis.
  11. Users may not engage in “spamming” (sending irrelevant or inappropriate electronic communications individually or en masse) or participate in electronic chain letters.
  12. Users who maliciously access, alter, delete, damage or destroy any computer system, computer network, wireless access, computer program, or data will be subject to criminal prosecution as well as to disciplinary action by the District. This includes, but is not limited to, changing or deleting another user’s account; changing the password of another user; using an unauthorized account; damaging any files; altering the system; using the system to make money illegally; destroying, modifying, vandalizing, defacing or abusing hardware, software, furniture or any District property. Users may not develop programs that harass other users or infiltrate a computer or computer system and/or damage the software components of a computer or computer system (e.g., create viruses, worms).
  13. Users may not intentionally disrupt information network traffic or crash the network and connected systems; they must not degrade or disrupt equipment or system performance. They must not download or save excessively large files without the express approval of the network administrator.
  14. Users may not plagiarize, which is a serious offense. Plagiarism is “taking ideas or writings from another person and offering them as your own.” Credit must always be given to the person who created the article or the idea. A person who, by cutting and pasting text or data, leads readers to believe that what they are reading is the person’s original work when it is not, is guilty of plagiarism.
  15. Users must comply with the “fair use” provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. “Fair use” in this context means that the copyrighted materials of others may be used only for scholarly purposes, and that the use must be limited to brief excerpts. The District’s library professionals can assist employees with fair use issues.
  16. Users may not copy any copyrighted or licensed software from the Internet or from the network without the express permission of the copyright holder: software must be purchased or licensed before it can legally be used.
  17. Users may not take data, equipment, software or supplies (paper, toner cartridges, disks, etc.) for their own personal use. Such taking will be treated as theft. Use of District printers and paper must be reasonable.
  18. The Warwick Valley Central School District assumes no responsibility for student, faculty or staff websites created and hosted outside of the District network. The District requires that all individual staff/student electronic communication will occur through the District network.

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Violations and Consequences

Consequences of violations include but are not limited to:

  • Suspension or revocation of information network access;
  • Suspension or revocation of network privileges;
  • Suspension or revocation of computer access;
  • Disciplinary action, up to and including termination of services; and
  • Legal action, where appropriate.

In addition, the District will seek monetary compensation for damages in appropriate cases. Repeated or severe violations will result in more serious penalties than one-time or minor infractions.

This Acceptable Use Policy is subject to change. The District reserves the right to restrict or terminate information network access at any time for any reason. The District further reserves the right to monitor network activity as it sees fit in order to maintain the integrity of the network and to monitor acceptable use. School and District-wide administrators will make final determination as to what constitutes unacceptable use.

Disciplinary penalties involving adverse employment action will be determined in accordance with applicable state law and the terms of applicable collective bargaining agreements. However, suspension or revocation of access privileges will be determined by the network administrator, acting in consultation with school and District-wide administrators.

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