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.
 

7540.05 - STAFF ELECTRONIC MAIL

This policy establishes the use of the District's electronic email (e-mail) system designated for use by staff and other District-authorized users and applies to any and all electronic messages composed, sent, or received by any authorized District user. Authorized users of e-mail are employees, temporary or contract employees, elected School Board members and their staff, and any other individuals or groups issued District staff e-mail accounts.

District E-Mail

E-mail is an official means of communication within the District. The use of e-mail is encouraged as a convenient, timely, and cost-effective communications medium. The purpose of providing an e-mail system to District employees is to advance the Boardís business needs, mission, and goals. Employees who use the District e-mail services are expected to do so responsibly and to comply with Florida and Federal laws, District policies and procedures, and established standards of professional conduct and personal courtesy.

Acceptable Use

Use of District e-mail by employees must support and be consistent with District objectives. All users must be aware of and understand the standards by which the District expects and requires users to conduct themselves. These standards are found in, among other things, the Code of Ethics for the Education Profession in the State of Florida, the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida, the District's Electronic-Handbook, Policy 7540.04, and the District's Network Security Standards. All users must familiarize themselves with all applicable standards. An employeeís failure to become familiar with these guidelines will not constitute a viable defense to or be a mitigating factor to a charge that an employee has violated this policy.

Unacceptable Use

Authorized users of the e-mail system may not use the Districtís e-mail system to perform any action or transmit any communication that would otherwise be prohibited in any other medium of communication.

Unacceptable and prohibited uses of District e-mail services include, but are not limited to:

 A.Using profanity, obscenity, or other language which may be offensive to another user or any matter deemed to be obscene.
  Obscene material is material which: 1) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taken as a whole appeals to prurient interests; 2) depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct as defined by state law; 3) or taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

 B.Transmitting any material that is in violation of Federal, State, and local laws, or of Board policies, regulations, or guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, material that contains statements that would violate an individualís civil or constitutional rights or constitute harassment or trade secrets or copyrighted material without the consent of the owner or copyright holder.

 C."Spoofing" where spoofing is defined as the act of disguising the sender of an e-mail by replacing the name in the "from" or header fields, sending e-mails while signed on as a different user, or otherwise intentionally misleading the recipient as to the identity of the actual sender.

 D.Sending anonymous e-mail.

 E.Engaging in any activity designed to view the e-mails of other individuals without authority or permission.

 F.Using the Districtís global distribution lists for purposes that are not work related.

 G.Initiating or forwarding "chain-letters" or petitions.

 H.Using the e-mail system for political activities. Board Policy 1232, Policy 3232, and Policy 4232, Political Activities, govern the political activities of employees while on duty. In addition, all authorized users are prohibited from using the Districtís e-mail system to provide publicity for any candidate for public office, and are forbidden from using the DistrictĎs private network for lobbying, campaigning, or soliciting on behalf of any candidate for public office or using e-mail to support or oppose a political or union position or to engage in political or union activity. This includes sending messages regarding these topics into the Districtís e-mail system from an external e-mail account.

 I."Spamming," or the sending of unwanted, unsolicited and/or unnecessary messages to large numbers of people, usually with the purpose of advertising a product, event, service, or lobbying for a specific political position or promoting an individualís opinion. In many cases, the sender is unknown to the recipients. The District has the right to block and/or remove any e-mail that it determines is spam.

 J.Violating Board policies, including, but not limited to, Florida's Code of Ethics of the Education Profession, The Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida, and Board Policy 1210, Policy 3210, and Policy 4210. Board members and employees are expected to prevent any entity from sending political e-mail into the District e-mail system in the Board or employee's name.

Consequences of Inappropriate Use

The e-mail system is the property of the District. The District has the right to monitor the e-mail system for unacceptable use according to Federal, State, local and District laws, policies and rules. Any employee who violates this rule is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

 A.Work-site supervisors and District administrators are authorized to determine whether an employee is in compliance with this rule and is using the Districtís e-mail system in an appropriate and acceptable manner. This includes randomly accessing the employeeís e-mail for the purpose of determining compliance with this rule.

 B.The District also has the right to:

  1.review e-mails stored in the network for the purpose of maintaining adequate and necessary file server space,

  2.modify or delete e-mails or attachments that may contain computer viruses or any other computer code that could damage or destroy any portion of the network, and

  3.block e-mails that violate this policy.

 C.Users of the District e-mail system shall not expect that e-mail generated or received via the Districtís e-mail system will remain private. Users should be aware that:

  1.Sensitive and confidential data, including data considered exempt from public disclosure, may be viewed by persons other than the intended recipient. Information that is exempt or confidential under state and federal law may need to be encrypted, blocked out, or not transmitted by e-mail.

  2.E-mail is legally discoverable and may be used in court proceedings. Employees are notified that there is no individual right to privacy in the use of the Districtís e-mail system. Administration has an absolute right to monitor employeesí use of the e-mail system at its discretion. Users are warned that although e-mail often has the feel of a private conversation, it is in fact, not private. Further, e-mail generated during the regular course of School Board business is subject to public disclosure, in accordance with Floridaís Public Records Act, F.S. Chapter 119.

Personal Use

The intended use of the District e-mail system is for District-related purposes, not for personal use or other purposes. In limited instances, some personal use of the District e-mail system may be permitted. This use is a privilege, not a right. Limited, incidental personal use of the District e-mail system such as sending short, brief e-mails to a friend or relative is permissible so long as the user complies with the Utilization Policy and with State and Federal laws and Board policies governing the use of e-mail. Any abuse of this privilege will be handled in the same manner as described above.

Limited incidental personal use must not tie-up or otherwise obstruct system resources in any way, interfere with an individualís job performance and/or duties, advertise or promote a product or service, publicize unsanctioned, non-District activities without approval, promote political candidates or positions as outlined above, include attachments that use excessive storage (multiple pictures, video clips, etc.), and/or be used in any way that is detrimental to the District. In addition, employees are prohibited from storing e-mail that is personal in nature in the Districtís e-mail system.

The above list is for illustrative purposes only and is not exhaustive. Employees must exercise good judgment in using the e-mail system and not abuse the privilege.

Retention

All Federal, State, and local rules and regulations regarding retention of records, memos, and documents apply to documents and materials created and transmitted by e-mail. F.S. Chapter 257 establishes the authority of the Division of Library and Information Services, Department of State, to establish and maintain the standards and guidelines for public records.

Users of District e-mail are responsible for retaining e-mail that, by law, must be retained according to the minimum retention periods set by the Florida Department of State General Records Schedule GS7. If a public record is maintained longer than required, it remains a public record and must be produced upon request. Upon termination of employment, individuals are required by law to provide their employer with, and/or leave intact, any record (including e-mail) subject to the retention laws and schedules. Violators may be subject to personal and/or criminal liability. Official District business should not be conducted via personal e-mail accounts and/or text messaging, but rather via District-issued e-mail accounts.

E-mail that should be retained may be stored electronically or printed and saved as a hard-copy, provided that printed copies maintain all applicable routing information (e.g., to/from information) along with date/time stamps. In either case, such records must be available for public access, regardless of the medium in which they are maintained. The State and the courts do acknowledge, however, that much of what is put in e-mail does not qualify as a public record and may be deleted without permission once it no longer has value. Users must consult the GS7 schedule for required retention periods, exemptions, and other factors that may influence the disposition and/or disposal of public records.

Updated retention schedule information can be found at the following link: http://dos.myflorida.com/library-archives/records-management/general-records-schedules/.

F.S. 119.011
F.S. 257 et seq.
F.S. 257.05
F.S. 668.60 et seq.
F.S. 668.701 et seq.
F.S. 847.012

Revised 3/15/17

© Miami-Dade 2017