Decatur County Community Schools
Bylaws & Policies


Use of personal communication devices ("PCDs") has become pervasive in the workplace. For purposes of this policy, "personal communication device" includes computers, tablets (e.g., iPads and similar devices), electronic readers ("e-readers"; e.g., Kindles and similar devices), cell phones (e.g., mobile/cellular telephones, smartphones [e.g., BlackBerry, iPhone, Android devices, Windows Mobile devices, etc.], and/or other web-enabled devices of any type. Whether the PCD is School Board-owned and assigned to a specific employee, or personally-owned by the employee (regardless of whether the Board pays the employee an allowance for his/her use of the device, the Board reimburses the employee on a per use basis for their business-related use of his/her PCD, or the employee receives no remuneration for his/her use of a personally-owned PCD), the employee is responsible for using the device in a safe and appropriate manner.

Safe and Appropriate Use of Personal Communication Devices, Including Cell Phones

Employees are responsible for operating Board-owned vehicles and potentially hazardous equipment in a safe and prudent manner, and therefore, employees are prohibited from using PCDs while operating such vehicles or equipment. In the interest of safety for both Board employees and other drivers, employees are required to comply with all applicable laws while driving.

Employees may not use a PCD in a way that might reasonably create in the mind of another person an impression of being threatened, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed or intimidated.

Duty to Maintain Confidentiality of Student Personally Identifiable Information  - Public and Student Record Requirements

Employees are subject to all applicable policies and guidelines pertaining to protection of the security, integrity and availability of the data stored on their PCDs.

Cellular and wireless communications, including calls, text messages, instant messages, and e-mails sent from PCDs, may not be secure. Therefore, employees should use discretion in relaying confidential information, particularly as it relates to students.

Additionally, cellular/wireless communications, including text messages, instant messages and e-mails sent and/or received by a public employee or school official using his/her PCD may constitute public records if the content of the message concerns Corporation business, or an education record if the content includes personally identifiable information about a student. Cellular/wireless communications that are public records are subject to retention and disclosure, upon request, in accordance with Policy 8310 Public Records. Cellular/wireless communications that are student records should be maintained pursuant to Policy 8330 Students Records. Finally, cellular/wireless communications and other electronically stored information (ESI) stored on the staff member's PCD may be subject to a Litigation Hold pursuant to Policy 8315  Information Management. Staff are required to comply with Corporation requests to produce copies of cellular/wireless communications in their possession that are either public records or education records, or that constitute ESI that is subject to a Litigation Hold.

If a PCD is lost, stolen hacked or otherwise subjected to unauthorized access, the employee must immediately notify the Superintendent so a determination can be made as to whether any public records, students records and/or ESI subject to a Litigation Hold has been compromised and/or lost. The Superintendent shall determine whether any security breach notification laws may have application to the situation. Appropriate notifications will be sent unless the records/information stored on the PCD was encrypted.

It is required that employees lock and password protect their PCDs when not in use.

Employees are responsible for making sure no third parties (including family members) have access to records and/or information, which is maintained on a PCD in their possession, that is confidential, privileged or otherwise protected by State and/or Federal law.

Privacy Issues

Except in emergency situations or as otherwise authorized by the Superintendent or as necessary to fulfill their job responsibilities, employees are prohibited from using PCDs to capture, record and/or transmit the words or sounds (i.e., audio) and/or images (i.e., pictures/video) of any student, staff member or other person in the school or while attending a school-related activity. Using a PCD to capture, record and/or transmit audio and/or pictures/video of an individual without proper consent is considered an invasion of privacy and is not permitted.

PCDs, including but not limited to those with cameras, may not be activated or utilized at any time in any school situation where a reasonable expectation of personal privacy exists. These locations and circumstances include, but are not limited to, classrooms, gymnasiums, locker rooms, shower facilities, rest/bathrooms, and any other areas where students or others may change clothes or be in any stage or degree of disrobing or changing clothes. The Superintendent and building principals are authorized to determine other specific locations and situations where use of a PCD is absolutely prohibited.

Personal Use of PCDs While at Work

Board employees may carry PCDs and/or cell phones with them while at work including while operating Board equipment, but are subject to the following restrictions:



Excessive use of a PCD and/or cell phone for personal business during work hours is considered outside the employee's scope of employment and may result in disciplinary action.



Employees are personally and solely responsible for the care and security of their personally-owned PCDs. The Board assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, or damage to, or misuse or unauthorized use of, personally-owned PCDs brought onto its property, or the unauthorized use of such devices.

Potential Disciplinary Action

Violation of this policy may constitute just cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination. Use of a PCD in any manner contrary to local, State or Federal laws may also result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Adopted 6/12/13

© Neola 2012