The School Board of Polk 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 School Board of Polk County were adopted on November 12, 2013 and were in effect beginning November 12, 2013.


Advances in telecommunications and other related technologies have fundamentally altered the ways in which information is accessed, communicated, and transferred in society. Such changes are driving the need for educators to adapt their means and methods of instruction, and the way they approach student learning, to harness and utilize the vast, diverse, and unique resources available on the Network/Internet. The District is pleased to provide Network/Internet service to its staff. The Districtís Internet system has a limited educational purpose. The Districtís Internet system has not been established as a public access service or a public forum. The Board has the right to place restrictions on its use to assure that use of the Districtís Internet system is in accord with its limited educational purpose. Staff use of the Districtís computers, network and Internet services ("Network") will be governed by this policy and the related administrative guidelines, and any applicable employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. The due process rights of all users will be respected in the event there is a suspicion of inappropriate use of the Network. Users have a limited privacy expectation in the content of their personal files and records of their online activity while on the Network.

The District encourages staff to utilize the Network/Internet in order to promote educational excellence in our schools by providing them with the opportunity to develop the resource sharing, innovation, and communication skills and tools that are essential to both life and work. The District encourages the faculty to develop the appropriate skills necessary to effectively access, analyze, evaluate, and utilize these resources in enriching educational activities. The instructional use of the Network/Internet will be guided by the District's policy on instructional materials.

The Internet is a global information and communication network that provides an incredible opportunity to bring previously unimaginable education and information resources to our students. The Internet connects computers and users in the District with computers and users worldwide. Through the Internet, students and staff can access up-to-date, highly relevant information that will enhance their learning and the education process. Further, the Internet provides students and staff with the opportunity to communicate with other people from throughout the world. Access to such an incredible quantity of information and resources brings with it, however, certain unique challenges.

First, and foremost, the District may not be able to technologically limit access to services through the District's Network/Internet connection to only those that have been authorized for the purpose of instruction, study, and research related to the District related business. Unlike in the past when educators and community members had the opportunity to review and screen materials to assess their appropriateness, access to the Network/Internet, because it serves as a gateway to any publicly available file server in the world, will open classrooms and staff to electronic information resources.

The Board has implemented the use of a Technology Protection Measure, which is a specific technology that will protect against (e.g., filter or block) access to visual displays/depictions that are obscene, child pornography, and materials that are harmful to minors, as defined by the Childrenís Internet Protection Act. At the discretion of the Board or Superintendent, the Technology Protection Measure may also be configured to protect against access to other material considered inappropriate for students to access. The Technology Protection Measure may not be disabled at any time that students may be using the Network, if such disabling will cease to protect against access to materials that are prohibited under the Childrenís Internet Protection Act. The Superintendent may temporarily or permanently unblock access to sites containing appropriate material, if access to such sites has been inappropriately blocked by the Technology Protection Measure. The determination of whether material is appropriate or inappropriate shall be based on the content of the material and the intended use of the material, not on the protection actions of the Technology Protection Measure.

The District utilizes software and/or hardware to monitor online activity of staff members to restrict access to child pornography and other material that is obscene, objectionable, inappropriate, and/or harmful to minors. The Superintendent may disable the Technology Protection Measure to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

Staff members will participate in professional development programs in accordance with the provisions of law and this policy. Training shall include:

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

 B.the inherent danger of students disclosing personally identifiable information online;

 C.the consequences of unauthorized access (e.g., "hacking"), cyberbullying and other unlawful or inappropriate activities by students or staff online; and,

 D.unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors.

Furthermore, staff members shall provide instruction for their students regarding the appropriate use of technology and online safety and security as specified above, and staff members will monitor students' online activities while at school.

Monitoring may include, but is not necessarily limited to, visual observations of online activities during class sessions and/or use of specific monitoring tools to review browser history and network, server, and computer logs.

The disclosure of personally identifiable information about students online is prohibited, except with the permission of the eligible student or parent/legal guardian.

Site administrators are responsible for providing training so that Network/Internet users under their supervision are knowledgeable about this policy and its accompanying procedures. The School Board expects that staff members will provide guidance and instruction to students in the appropriate use of the Network/Internet. All Network/Internet users are required to sign a written agreement at the time of employment, and annually thereafter, to abide by the terms and conditions of this policy and its accompanying procedures.

Staff members are responsible for good behavior on District's computers/network and the Network/Internet just as they are in classrooms, school hallways, and other school premises and school sponsored events. Communications on the Network/Internet are often public in nature. General school rules for behavior and communication apply. The District does not sanction any use of the Network/Internet that is not authorized by or conducted strictly in compliance with this policy and its accompanying procedures. Users who disregard this policy and its accompanying procedures may have their use privileges suspended or revoked, and disciplinary action taken against them. Users granted access to the Network/Internet through the District's computers assume personal responsibility and liability, both civil and criminal, for uses of the Network/Internet not authorized by this policy and its accompanying procedures.

An employee's personal or private use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, etc., may have unintended consequences. While the Board respects its employees' First Amendment rights, those rights do not include permission to engage in conduct that violates Board policies, the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida, the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida, or any other state of Federal laws, and may result in disciplinary action. This warning includes staff members' online conduct that occurs off school property including from the employee's private computer.

Staff members retain rights of communication for collective bargaining purposes and union organizational activities.

Federal and State law forbids schools and their employees from using or disclosing student education records without parental consent. (See Policy 8330 Ė Student Records) Posting personally identifiable information about students in any way on the Internet is, therefore, prohibited. Staff members, who violate State and Federal law, as well as Board policy, related to the disclosure of personally identifiable information about students might be disciplined. Further, Staff members who similarly violate State and Federal law, as well as Board policy, related to the disclosure of confidential employee information might also be disciplined.

The Board designates the Superintendent as the administrator responsible for initiating, implementing, and enforcing this policy and its accompanying procedures as they apply to staff members' use of the Network.

F.S. 1001.41, 1012.32
H.R. 4577, P.L. 106-554, Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000
P.L. 110-385, Title II, Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act
47 U.S.C. 254(h),(1), Communications Act of 1934, as amended
20 U.S.C. 6801 et seq., Part F, Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965,
as amended
20 U.S.C. 6777, 9134 (2003)
18 U.S.C. 2256
18 U.S.C. 1460
18 U.S.C. 2246
76 F.R. 56295

© Neola 2012