Eight key considerations for acceptable use policies

1. How does policy differ from procedure, and does the difference matter?
“Policies answer the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions. Procedures answer the ‘how,’ ‘who,’ and ‘when’ questions.”

2. What federal laws regulate internet use in schools?
“The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is the key federal law affecting the instructional use of digital media. CIPA requires any school district that receives eRate funding to filter or block visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography, or material harmful to minors. The law also requires districts to have in place an internet safety policy.”

3. What state laws regulate internet use in schools?
“Many states have enacted laws pertaining to cyberbullying or electronic harassment. Twenty-four states have enacted legislation that requires schools to filter internet materials and/or to require schools to develop Internet safety policies.”

4. What are two ways that school districts develop or revise the acceptable use policy?
“School districts generally approach policy development pertaining to the AUP in one of two ways. Some do so by designating a school official such as the chief technology officer, a cabinet member, or legal counsel working alone, or with a small group of school personnel to develop their policy. Others…involve a committee comprised of stakeholders including parents, teachers, administrators, community members and (though more rarely) students.”

(Next page: Four more important factors)

Laura Ascione
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