In my research I found that my district has four AUPs covering email, internet, network, and copyright. Every one of these documents has a preamble which essentially describes the service that DPS provides (e.g. email, internet, or network) and who the policy applies to however, each document is missing some key elements. For example our email policy is directed toward staff only (not children) and doesn't describe how the policy was developed yet, our Network Connection policy goes into details about how and who was involved in its creation. Only the internet use policy contained a section of definitions, and that some other items were defined in the preamble paragraphs (such as the electronic email section). As in other sections, what is included in the policy section changes depending on the document. In the internet use policy (which applies to staff and students) the guidelines serve as “do-nots” and explain only prohibited activities. It is thus assumed that any activity that is not prohibited, although not explicitly stated, is allowed. Staff are not required to sign any documents but “are required to be aware of the policies” while students (although not mentioned in any of these policies) are required to sign their student handbook, which binds them to all student policies including internet use. I was very surprised to see these documents only outline “unacceptable use” and not have any areas defining “acceptable use.” It was only in the Internet Use Policy’s preamble that I found this sentence, “The District's goal in providing this service is to promote educational opportunities to schools by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication.” This was of course a positive use of technology but isn't very focused and I don’t feel it qualifies as an official “acceptable use” rule when compared to the Schools (DPS) acceptable use policies. In one of their sections they write, “Acceptable uses of such technological resources are limited to responsible, efficient and legal activities that support teaching and learning” (DPS, 2012). I thought this was a great example of what an acceptable use section might look like. What Denver Public Schools does well at is providing an unacceptable use section in which they give specific examples of inappropriate content (pornographic, explicit, etc), hacking the network, or using the network for “non-school related” activities. No specific websites are prohibited and it should be assumed that any site that contains the inappropriate content listed. When it comes to student sharing of information, the only restrictions are around sharing of passwords, sending offensive material to others, and any sending anything inappropriate. Finally in the violations section, the only violations described for students is “termination of access” and for staff is “disciplinary action or termination.”
Overall I was very surprised at all the holes in my district’s AUP. I would expect a more comprehensive policy for the largest district in the state. This document was last updated in 2012. I will take into account all the missing pieces when constructing my own AUP.
Denver Public Schools. (2012). Dps board policies pertaining to dots. Retrieved from http://dots.dpsk12.org/techpolicies
Durham Public Schools. (2012). 3040 - technology acceptable use policy. Retrieved from http://www.dpsnc.net/about-dps/district-policies/523/3040-internet-... students