The purpose of this document is to set forth the policies governing the use of all Winfree Academy Charter Schools (“WACS” or “Winfree”) technology resources by learners while on or near school property, in school vehicles and at school-sponsored activities on- or off-campus, as well as the use of all WACS technology resources via off-campus remote access.
Please read the following Acceptable Use Policy carefully before signing the attached acknowledgement form. Winfree reserves the right to modify the terms and conditions of this document at any time. The latest version of this document will be made available at each campus and on the Winfree website.
Winfree is pleased to offer learners access to WACS computers, communications systems, the Internet, and a wide array of other technology resources to promote educational excellence and enhance the classroom experience. Technology can expand a learner’s access to educational materials, prepare learners by providing workforce skills and college readiness, and lead to personal growth. Winfree recognizes, however, that access to technology must be given with clear guidelines, expectations, and supervision to protect learners. This policy is designed to allow parents/guardians, educators and administrators to be partners while instructing learners on how to be responsible users of technology.
WACS will educate all learners about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites, chat rooms, and cyber-bullying awareness and response.
WACS will hold all learners responsible for their use of technology, whether WACS-provided or personal, and they are expected to act in an appropriate manner in accordance with campus procedures, Board policy and procedures, and legal requirements. This applies to the use of all WACS technology resources by learners while on or near school property, in school vehicles and at school-sponsored activities on- or off-campus, as well as the use of all WACS technology resources via off-campus remote access.
This Policy shall be used in conjunction with any Board policy that deals with learner rights and responsibilities, and the Learner Code of Conduct adopted by the Board and found in the Learner Resource Guide.
USING THE INTERNET AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS
WACS provides technology resources to learners for the express purposes of conducting research, completing assignments, and communicating to the faculty, staff, and others to complement their educational experience. Just as learners must demonstrate proper behavior in a classroom or school hallway, they must also behave appropriately when using any WACS computer networks, software or websites sanctioned or used by WACS, and any personal technology used in an educational setting. Access to WACS technology is a privilege, not a right. Learners must comply with all WACS standards set forth in this Policy at all times in order to retain the privilege of using its technology resources.
Learners and their parents/guardians are advised that any information stored on and/or sent through Winfree’s technology resources is the property of WACS. Accordingly, in connection with ensuring learner safety, WACS network administrators and/or other appropriate personnel will engage in periodic reviews and searches of stored files and communications stored on WACS technology resources to maintain system integrity and ensure that learners are complying with this Policy and using technology in a responsible and appropriate manner. Such reviews will include learners’ use WACS-approved educational websites or software to ensure that they are using it in an appropriate manner consistent with Winfree’s expectations for such use. Learners do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy over any information stored on WACS technology.
Winfree remains committed to integrating technology to enrich its curriculum and enhancing learners’ educational experience; thereby allowing for better preparation for job skills and college success. Access to the Internet enables learners to use extensive online libraries, databases and websites selected by WACS for use in instruction.
Although WACS strives to ensure that inappropriate material on the Internet is avoided, learners and their families should be aware that some material accessible on the Internet may contain information that is inaccurate, profane, sexually oriented, defamatory and potentially offensive to some. Winfree does not condone any learner accessing, or attempting to access, such material, and it remains deeply committed to safe Internet use. Winfree takes steps to minimize learners’ opportunities to access such content, including the implementation of extensive content-filtering software. Each WACS device with Internet access shall have a filtering device or software that blocks access to visual depictions that are obscene, pornographic, inappropriate for learners, or harmful to minors, as defined by the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) and/or as determined by the WACS administration. WACS will also take steps to prevent unauthorized access, including hacking and other unlawful activities, and restrict unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information regarding learners.
Filtering devices or software are not fail-safe, however, and while WACS strives to ensure that learners’ Internet access at school is supervised, it is possible that the software may miss some content, or learners may find a way around the filtering software to access inappropriate material. Users must also recognize that it is impossible for WACS to restrict access to all controversial materials, and users must therefore be responsible for their own actions in navigating the Internet. For this reason, this Policy is strictly enforced, and learners who misuse any WACS technology outside its intended purpose, including the use of Winfree-recommended websites for purposes outside the educational intent, will be in violation of this Policy, which may lead to disciplinary consequences for the learner.
PROPER AND ACCEPTABLE USE OF ALL TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES
WACS requires learners to use all technology resources, including any websites or software used in the classroom, in a manner consistent with the following rules. WACS will hold learners responsible for any intentional misuse of its technology resources, or any other failure to comply with the rules in this Policy. When using WACS technology systems outside the school, parents should strive to ensure that learners do so in compliance with the rules set forth in this Policy, as WACS is unable to supervise learners’ technology use at home. Winfree’s content-filtering software will not work in a learner’s home, so parents/guardians are encouraged to place content-filtering software on their home computers or take any other steps necessary to monitor learners’ Internet usage at home.
Learners who unintentionally access inappropriate material in connection with their use of any WACS technology, including websites and software used in the classroom, shall immediately stop accessing the material and report it to a supervising adult. WACS shall take immediate steps to ensure such material is blocked from further viewing at school by its content-filtering software.
All WACS technology resources, including but not limited to WACS computers, communications systems, and the Internet, including any websites or software used in the classroom, must be used in support of education and academic research and in accordance with the rules set forth in this Policy.
Activities that are permitted and encouraged include the following:
Activities that are barred and subject to potential disciplinary action and loss of privileges include the following:
Learners shall immediately report any violations of this Policy to a classroom educator or administrator. If any learner or parent/guardian has a question about whether an activity may be a violation of this Policy, they should ask a classroom educator, coach or administrator.
PRIVACY AND SECURITY
Learners are expected to use WACS technology resources responsibly and in a safe and secure manner. Learners shall not share their individual logins, passwords, or access to WACS technology with others without the prior approval of an educator, coach or administrator. Learners shall sign off or log off all WACS equipment, software, or Internet sites once they are done with their session in order to protect the integrity of their logins, passwords or access.
Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm, disrupt or destroy data of another user of Winfree’s network or any other agencies or networks that are connected to the Internet. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creating of computer viruses. Any of these actions may be viewed as violations of WACS policy, administrative regulations and, possibly, as criminal activity under applicable state and federal laws. Users must respect the privacy of other users, and will not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify any file, data, or password belonging to another user, or represent themselves as another user unless explicitly authorized. Deliberate attempts to degrade or disrupt system performance and/or degrade, disrupt or bypass system security are violations of WACS policy and administrative regulations, and may constitute criminal activity under applicable laws.
Any prohibited behavior under this policy will result in the cancellation of technology privileges. WACS will, in accordance with Board policy, cooperate with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to misuse of Winfree’s network.
CONSEQUENCES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE POLICY
Learners shall be subject to disciplinary action as deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or designee for a violation of this Policy, depending on the severity of the violation. Such consequences may include, but are not limited to, suspension and/or expulsion in accordance with the Learner Code of Conduct. In addition, a learner’s privileges to use WACS technology resources may be restricted or revoked. WACS may undertake appropriate investigations of any potential violation of this Policy by a learner, and may take action based upon the preponderance of the evidence revealed by such investigation.
In addition to this Policy, individual campuses may implement additional rules and regulations pertaining to the use of WACS and/or personal technology resources within their respective campuses. A school may hold any personal technology belonging to a learner, subject to the applicable WACS and/or campus policies and procedures, in the event the learner uses the technology inappropriately in violation of this Policy or of applicable campus rules.
Learners who violate this Policy may also be subject to potential violations of local, state, and federal law, depending on the conduct involved.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Winfree makes no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, for the technology resources it provides to learners through WACS provided and/or a learner’s personal electronic devices. WACS is not responsible for any damages that a learner may sustain, including those arising from non-delivery of information, erroneous delivery of information, service interruptions, unauthorized use by a learner, loss of data, and any potential exposure to inappropriate material from the Internet. Use of any information obtained through the Internet is at the learner’s own risk, as WACS makes no representations, and denies responsibility for, the accuracy or quality of the information. In exchange for being allowed to use WACS technology resources, learners and their parents/guardians hereby release WACS, its trustees, employees, and representatives from any and all claims for damages that arise from the intentional or neglectful misuse of Winfree’s technology resources by the learner.
The Board of Winfree Academy Charter Schools adopted this internet safety policy at a public meeting following normal public notice on January 12, 2016.