The School Board of Miami-Dade County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the Bylaws and Policies of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools were adopted on May 11, 2011 and were in effect beginning July 1, 2011.
 

7540.04 - STAFF RESPONSIBLE USE OF TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND DISTRICT NETWORK SYSTEMS

The School Board provides access to a large variety of technology and network resources which provide multiple opportunities to enhance learning and improve communication within the school district and the community. All users must, however, exercise appropriate and responsible use of school and District technology and information systems. Users are defined as anyone authorized by administration to use the network. This includes, but is not limited to: staff, vendors, contractors, and volunteers. This policy is intended to promote the most effective, safe, productive, and instructionally sound uses of network information and communication tools.

The District network is defined as all computer resources, including software, hardware, lines, and services that allow connection of District computers to other computers, whether they are within the district or external to the District, including connection to the Internet with any device while on school property. The Board shall maintain a system of internet content filtering devices and software controls that meet the Federal standards established in the Childrenís Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Responsible Use

Responsible use of the District's technology resources is expected to be ethical, respectful, academically honest, and supportive of the Districtís educational mission and objectives. Each user has the responsibility to respect every other person in our community and on the Internet. Digital storage and electronic devices used for school purposes will be treated as extensions of the physical school space. Administrators, or their designees, may review files and communications (including electronic mail) to ensure the system is being used in accordance with District policy and administrative procedures and guidelines. Users do not have any expectation of privacy in files stored on servers or disks which may be subject to disclosure pursuant to Floridaís Public Records Act.

No user may use the network to take any action and/or communicate any language that the employee or student could not take or communicate in person. Prohibitions in applicable Federal, State, and/or local law or regulation, collective bargaining agreements, and Board policies are included. Additionally, there is no expectation of privacy in the use of e-mail or network communications when such communications occur over District provided equipment by District employees, students, or others (See Policy 7540.05).

Users are expected to comply with the rules of network etiquette, including but not limited to:

 A.Use of the Districtís Network and electronic devices must be consistent with the Districtís educational objectives, mission, and curriculum; all users of the District's network are bound by the guidelines and stipulations set forth within the Network Security Standards, which are posted on the District's website.

 B.Any user who identifies a security problem on the network must notify a system administrator and shall not disclose or demonstrate the problem to others.

 C.Employees shall not use another individualís account without written permission. Users must not share their password with anyone, engage in activities that would reveal anyoneís password, or allow others to access a computer that the user is logged on to. Attempting to log in to the system as any other user is prohibited. Employees are expected to act with due care in maintaining their passwords private and secure.

 D.Transmission of any material in violation of local, Federal, and/or State laws is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: copyrighted material, licensed material, and threatening, bullying, discriminating, slanderous, or obscene material.
  Obscene material is material which:

  1.the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals solely to the prurient interest; and

  2.depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct as defined in State law (F.S. 847.001(11)); and

  3.taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

 E.Intentional or unintentional use of District resources to access or process proxy sites, pornographic material, explicit text or files, or files dangerous to the integrity of the network is strictly prohibited.

 F.The network may not be used in any way that discriminates on any protected basis as delineated in the Boardís anti-discrimination policies.

 G.The use of profanity, vulgarities, or any other inappropriate language is prohibited.

 H.Downloading pictures, sounds, video clips, text documents, or any material without authorization and without confirmation is prohibited unless the employee has the right to use it or has obtained permission from the copyright owner.

 I.Downloading games, video files, audio files, or streaming media without educational value or without prior authorization by an administrator is prohibited.

 J.Uploading, downloading, transferring, or installing software applications, images, texts, video files, and digital music files without authorization is prohibited.

 K.Use of District resources for commercial activities, product advertisement, or religious or political campaigning, lobbying, threats, suggestions of violence, or solicitation is prohibited.

 L.Accessing chat rooms or instant messaging while using the Districtís network is prohibited.

 M.Bypassing the Districtís content filter without authorization is strictly prohibited.

 N.Users may be held personally and financially responsible for malicious or intentional damage or interruptions to network service, software, data, user accounts, hardware, and/or any other unauthorized use.

 O.Files stored on District-managed networks and hardware are the property of the District and may be inspected at any time.

 P.Use of the network in such a way that other users would be unable to get the full benefit of information available is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: running applications that deny the networkís services to others, tying up computers without a legitimate educational, District or school business purpose while others are waiting, damaging software or hardware so that others are unable to use it, or any conduct that would be prohibited by State law (F.S. 815.06).

 Q.Materials published electronically must be for educational purposes. Administrators should monitor these materials to ensure compliance with content standards.

 R.Software, services, games, applications, video or audio files, or streaming media obtained without permission may never be installed, uploaded, or downloaded on school devices.

 S.Cyberbullying is prohibited at all times, on campus or off, whether using District-owned equipment and networks or personally owned equipment and broadband connections.

 T.Using the Districtís wireless equipment while on District property to connect without authorization to any wireless networks other than those provided by the District is prohibited. External signals will not provide content filtering and access to private networks may be illegal.

Procedures for Use

 A.School, Region, and District administrators are authorized to determine appropriate and acceptable use pursuant to this policy.

 B.Staff members shall participate in professional development and provide instruction to students that include:

  1.safety and security of students while using e-mail, chat rooms, social media, and other forms of electronic communications;

  2.the dangers inherent in disclosing personally identifiable information online; and

  3.the consequences of unauthorized access (e.g., hacking, cyber-bullying) and other unlawful or inappropriate online activities.

 C.Employees are required to affirm that they have read and agree to comply with this policy on a yearly basis.

 D.Personal use of the Districtís network, including e-mail and the Internet, is permitted as long as it does not interfere with an employeeís duties, a studentís learning activities and/or system operation and complies with all District policies and standards, State and/or Federal law, and Floridaís Code of Ethics for the Education Profession.

 E.Blogging is the activity of writing entries in, adding material to, or maintaining a "weblog". Employees shall not engage in blogging activities during working hours or use District-owned equipment for blogging activities unless specifically stated in their responsibilities and duties. During non-working hours, staff members are representatives of the District and should behave in a manner that does not disrespect or discredit the education profession. Unless engaging in an officially sanctioned District activity, employees using "blogs" should clearly specify that any opinions or statements are the employeeís own and do not reflect the views of the District. Employees are prohibited from using School District logos, school mascots, and other official symbols.

 F.Employees are not permitted to use or disclose personally identifiable student information and information contained in student education records without parental consent (See Policy 8330). Staff members may not disclose or post confidential employee information.

Social Media

Social media is defined as internet-based applications (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that facilitate interactive dialogue between users. The Board encourages the use of social media technologies and platforms to promote District schools and programs and to transmit information relevant to the District and/or school(s).

Board members, the District offices, and schools are permitted to create social media accounts, in compliance with District guidelines, to share District and school accomplishments with students, parents, businesses, and the community. Students and parents shall be provided the opportunity to opt-out of having their childís identification or photographic image posted to these sites. The opt-out form must be maintained in the studentís cumulative file.

When using social media, staff shall comply with the same responsible use rules outlined above for Internet and District network use. In addition, students and staff will not represent or create the inference on any social media posting that they speak on behalf of the school, the District or the Board or its members. The use of District time and/or equipment for personal social media activities is prohibited. Students and staff may be disciplined by the District for inappropriate social media behavior, even if it occurs off campus. Inappropriate personal communications using social media is prohibited.

Some social media sites allow users to become a "friend" or otherwise associate their "profiles" in a more private and personal arrangement which may mask inappropriate conduct. Staff members are discouraged from "friending" students on Facebook or other similar websites/applications, other than for the limited purpose of communications necessary to further educational objectives.

Employees shall not use District or school social media for collective bargaining purposes or union organizational activities, but may use non-District social media for these purposes.

Violations and Sanctions

Accessing the Internet or District network is a privilege, not a right. Inappropriate use and violation of this or any other Board policy may result in cancellation of the privilege. Inappropriate material and use is defined as any material or use that is inconsistent with the goals, objectives, and policies of the educational mission of the District. Any user can be denied access temporarily or permanently if the school, Region, or District administrator determines that a user has used the Internet or District network in an inappropriate or unacceptable manner. Staff may be disciplined or subject to legal action for violations of this policy.

Board Liability

The Board is not responsible for, and cannot be held liable for:

 A.damage resulting from unauthorized or inappropriate District network or social media activity;

 B.unfiltered content that may be viewed or downloaded on District equipment that has been provided to individuals for use outside District property;

 C.use of any information obtained via the Internet, including any damages a user may incur including but not limited to, loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by negligence, errors, or omissions;

 D.the accuracy or quality of information obtained through the network;

 E.issues or damage caused by the connection of personal devices to the Districtís network or improper use of the Districts network or equipment; or

 F.personally owned devices that are damaged, lost, or stolen.

Administrative Procedures and Guidelines

The Superintendent, or designee, is authorized to develop, implement, and disseminate administrative procedures and user guidelines necessary to effectuate this policy.

F.S. 847.012, 1001.41, 1012.32
P.L. 106-554, Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000
47 U.S.C. 254(h),(1), Communications Act of 1934, as amended (2003)
20 U.S.C. 6801 et seq., Part F, Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (2003)
20 U.S.C. 6777, 9134 (2003)
18 U.S.C. 2256
18 U.S.C. 1460
18 U.S.C. 2246
47 C.F.R. 54.500, 54.501, 54.502, 54.503, 54.504, 54.505, 54.506, 54.507
47 C.F.R. 54.508, 54.509, 54.511, 54.513, 54.514, 54.515, 54.516, 54.517
47 C.F.R. 54.518, 54.519, 54.520, 54.522, 54.523

Revised 7/18/12
Revised 6/17/15
Revised 3/15/17

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