5131.81- Use of Private Technology Devices by Students

Policy 5131.81

Students

Use of Electronic Devices

Use of Private Technology Devices by Students


Students may possess privately owned technological devices on school property and/or during school sponsored activities, in accordance with the mandates of this policy and any applicable administrative regulations as may be developed by the Superintendent of Schools. The Newtown Board of Education (“Board”) considers allowing students to bring to school such devices to be a privilege and not a right. The Board reserves the right to revoke this privilege if a student fails to adhere to the following guidelines and/or the Board’s responsible use and student discipline policies.

Parents and/or guardians must read and sign the attached agreement form before a student may be permitted to bring to school a privately owned technological device.

Definitions

Board Technology Resources

For the purposes of this policy, “Board Technology Resources” refers to the Board’s computers and instructional technologies; communications and data management systems; informational technologies and the Internet; and any other technology resources used by the school district and accessible by students.

Privately Owned Technological Devices

For the purposes of this policy, “Privately Owned Technological Devices” refers to privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic hand-held equipment that can be used for word processing, wireless Internet access, image capture and recording, sound recording, information transmitting and/or receiving, storing, etc. These devices may include, but are not limited to, personal laptops, Smartphones, network access devices, Kindles, Nooks, cellular telephones, radios, walkmen, CD players and walkie-talkies, Blackberries, personal data assistants, I-Phones and other electronic signaling devices.

Use of Privately Owned Technological Devices

Privately owned technological devices may not be used during instructional time, except as specifically permitted by instructional staff. Use of devices during non-instructional time will be approved by the administration.

Note:  Use of devices is governed by the Responsible Use of Technology Policy (BOE P6141.321).


Use of any such device for an improper purpose is prohibited. Improper purposes include, but are not limited to the following:

•    Sending any form of harassing, threatening, or intimidating message, at any time, to any person (such communications may also be a crime); 
•    Gaining or seeking to gain unauthorized access to Board technology resources;
•    Damaging Board technology resources;
•    Accessing or attempting to access any material that is obscene or contains pornography;
•    The sending, sharing, viewing or possessing pictures, e-mails or other material of a sexual nature in electronic or any other form on a cell phone or other electronic device is prohibited; 
•    Cyberbullying;
•    Violating any school rules, including the unauthorized visual or audio recording of another individual without the permission of the individual or individuals; or
•    Taking any action prohibited by any Federal or State law.

Additional guidelines around distribution of electronic material can be found in BOE Policy 5131.82. 

Sexting

The taking, disseminating, transferring or sharing of obscene, pornographic, lewd, or otherwise illegal images or photographs, whether by electronic data transfer or otherwise (commonly called texting, e-mailing or sexting, etc.) may constitute a crime under State and/or Federal law. Any person taking, disseminating or sharing obscene, pornographic, lewd or otherwise illegal images or photographs, even if the subject is oneself, may be punished under this policy/code of conduct and will be reported to law enforcement and/or other appropriate state or federal agencies, which may result in arrest, criminal prosecution and lifetime inclusion on sexual offender registries.

Search of Privately Owned Technological Devices

A student’s privately owned technological device may be searched if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.  Any such search shall be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.

Responsibility for Privately Owned Technological Devices

Students are responsible for the safety and use of their privately owned technological devices. If a privately owned technological device is stolen, lost, or damaged, a report should be made to the building principal, who will investigate the loss in a manner consistent with procedures for stolen or damaged personal property. Students and parents should be aware that the Board is not liable for any privately owned technological device that is stolen, lost, or damaged while at school. Furthermore, the Board shall not be liable for any data plan charges or any other costs associated with the use of private technological devices. For that reason, students are advised not to share or loan their privately owned technological devices with other students.

Students shall take full responsibility for their device and shall keep it safely stored when not in use. Classroom teachers will determine the best storage location for such devices. Students are required to take home their privately owned technological devices at the end of each school day.

Disciplinary Action

Misuse of the Board’s technology resources and/or the use of privately owned technological devices to access or utilize the Board’s technology resources in an inappropriate manner or in a manner inconsistent with this policy will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action. For students, a violation of this policy may result in loss of access privileges, a prohibition on the use and/or possession of privately owned technological devices on school property, and/or suspension or expulsion in accordance with the Board’s policies related to student discipline.

Access to Board Technology Resources

It is the policy of the Board of Education to permit students, using their privately owned technology devices, to access the Board’s instructional technologies; communications and data management systems; informational technologies and the Internet; and any other technology resources used by the school district and accessible by students. Additionally, it is the expectation of the Board of Education that students who access these resources while using privately owned technology devices will act at all times appropriately in ways which are fully in accord with applicable policies concerning technology use as well as all local, state, and federal laws.

Through the publication and dissemination of this policy statement and others related to use of the Board’s computer systems, as well as other instructional means, the Board educates students about the Board’s expectations for technology users.

The Board technology resources shall only be used to access educational information and to promote learning activities both at home and at school. The Board considers access to its technology resources to be a privilege and not a right. Students are expected to act at all times appropriately in ways which are fully in accord with applicable policies concerning technology use as well as all local, state, and federal laws when using the Board technology resources. Failure to do so will result in the consequences outlined herein and in other applicable policies (including, but not limited to, the Safe School Climate Plan, the Student Discipline Policy and the Use of Computers Policy).

Students must abide by the procedures outlined in this policy and all policies and applicable regulations outlined in the Board’s computer use and other applicable policies. Students will be given specific information for log-on and access procedures using school accounts. No user may deviate from these log-on/access procedures. Students are advised that the Board’s network administrators have the capability to identify users and to monitor all privately owned technological devices while they are logged on to the network. Students must understand that the Board has reserved the right to conduct monitoring of Board technology resources and can do so despite the assignment to individual users of passwords for system security. Any password systems implemented by the Board are designed solely to provide system security from unauthorized users, not to provide privacy to the individual system user. The system’s security aspects, message delete function and personal passwords can be bypassed for monitoring purposes. Therefore, students should be aware that they should not have any expectation of personal privacy in the use of privately owned technological devices to access Board technology resources. This provision applies to any and all uses of the Board’s technology resources and that any privately owned technological devices access same.

Harm to Board Technology Resources

Any act by a student using a privately owned technological device that harms the Board’s technology resources or otherwise interferes with or compromises the integrity of Board technology resources will be considered vandalism and will be subject to discipline and/or appropriate criminal or civil action.

(cf. 5114 – Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)
(cf. 5131 – Conduct)
(cf. 5131.8 – Off School Grounds Misconduct)
(cf. 5131.82 – Restrictions on Publications and Written or Electronic Material)
(cf. 5131.911 – Bullying)
(cf. 5131.913 – Cyberbullying)
(cf. 5144 – Discipline/Punishment)
(cf. 5145.5 – Sexual Harassment)
(cf. 5145.51 – Peer Sexual Harassment)
(cf. 6141.321 – Computers: Responsible Computer, Network and Internet Use)

Legal Reference:    Connecticut General Statutes
10-233j Student possession and use of telecommunications device    
31-48d Employees engaged in electronic monitoring required to give prior notice to employees.
 53a-182 Obstructing free passage: Class C misdemeanor.
 53a-183 Harassment in the second degree: Class C misdemeanor.
 53a-250 Definitions.
 Electronic Communication Privacy Act, 28 U.S.C. §§2510 through 2520.
 Eisner v. Stamford Board of Education, 440 F. 2d 803 (2nd Cir 1971)
 Trachtman v. Anker, 563 F. 2d 512 (2nd Cir. 1977) cert. denied, 435 U.S. 925 (1978)
 Hazelwood School District v. Ruhlmeir, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S Ct 562 (1988)
 Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 US 675 (1986)
 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community Dist., 393 US 503, (1969)

Policy adopted:    November 7, 2018    
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut

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