EMPLOYEE COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE RULES
The intent of these School Committee-level rules is to provide employees with general requirements for utilizing the Portland Public School’s (PPS) computers, networks and Internet services. The School Committee rules may be supplemented by more specific administrative procedures and rules governing day-to-day management and operation of the computer system.
These rules provide general guidelines and examples of prohibited uses for illustrative purposes but do not attempt to state all required or prohibited activities by users. Employees who have questions regarding whether a particular activity or use is acceptable should seek further guidance from the Computer Technology Services (CTS) department of the Portland Public Schools.
Failure to comply with School Committee policy GCSA, these rules and/or other established procedures or rules governing computer use may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal of employment. Illegal uses of PPS computers will also result in referral to law enforcement authorities.
A. Access to School Computers, Networks and Internet Services
The level of access that employees have to school unit computers, networks and Internet services is based upon specific employee job requirements and needs.
B. Acceptable Use
Employee access to PPS computers, networks and Internet services is provided for administrative, educational, communication and research purposes consistent with the Portland Public School’s educational mission, curriculum and instructional goals. General rules and expectations for professional behavior and communication apply to use of PPS computers, networks and Internet services.
Employees are to utilize PPS computers, networks and Internet services for school-related purposes and performance of job duties. Incidental personal use of school computers is permitted as long as such use does not interfere with the employee's job duties and performance, with system operations or other system users. "Incidental personal use" is defined as use by an individual employee for occasional personal communications. Employees are reminded that such personal use must comply with this policy and all other applicable policies, procedures and rules.
C. Prohibited Use
The employee is responsible for his/her actions and activities involving PPS computers, networks and Internet services and for his/her computer files, passwords and accounts. General examples of unacceptable uses which are expressly prohibited include but are not limited to the following:
1. Any use that is illegal or in violation of other School Committee policies, including harassing, discriminatory or threatening communications and behavior, violations of copyright laws, etc.;
2. Any use involving materials that are obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive;
3. Any inappropriate communications with students or minors;
4. Any use for personal and/or private financial gain, or commercial, advertising or solicitation purposes;
5. Any use as a forum for communicating by e-mail or any other medium with other school users or outside parties to solicit, proselytize, advocate or communicate the views of an individual, non-school-system sponsored organization or non-school-site sponsored organization; to solicit membership in or support of any non-school-sponsored organization; or to raise funds for any non-school-sponsored purpose, whether for-profit or not-for- profit. No employee shall knowingly provide school e-mail addresses to outside parties other than their own. Employees who are uncertain as to whether particular activities are acceptable should seek further guidance from the CTS department of the PPS.
6. Any communication that represents personal views as those of the school unit or that could be misinterpreted as such;
7. Downloading or loading software or applications without permission from the CTS department through the Building Technology Coordinator (BTC);
8. Knowingly opening or forwarding any e-mail attachments (executable files) known to contain viruses;
9. Sending mass e-mails to school users or outside parties unless specifically approved by the superintendent or designee;
10. Any malicious use or disruption of PPS computers, networks and Internet services or breach of security features;
11. Any misuse or damage to PPS computer equipment;
12. Misuse of the computer passwords or accounts (employee or other users); Each employee is responsible for all use under their login account ID therefore it is unwise to share passwords;
13. Any communications that are in violation of generally accepted rules of network etiquette and/or professional conduct;
14. Any attempt to access unauthorized sites;
15. Failing to report a known breach of computer security to the CTS department;
16. Using school computers, networks and Internet services after such access has been denied or revoked;
17. Any attempt to delete, erase or otherwise conceal any information stored on a school computer that violates these rules.
D. Active Restriction Measures
*Portland Public Schools will utilize Internet filtering software in an attempt to prevent access to visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornography, (3) harmful to minors, or (4) not of educational value. Portland Public Schools will also monitor online activities, through direct observation and/or technological means, to ensure that employees are not accessing such depictions or any other material that is inappropriate for minors.
Internet filtering software may be bypassed, as necessary, for purposes of bona fide research or other educational projects. The term “harmful to minors” is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h]), as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that
• taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest;
• depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, actual or simulated sexual content;
• taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
* Filtration software is not foolproof
E. No Expectation of Privacy
The Portland Public Schools (PPS) retains control, custody and supervision of all computers, networks and Internet services owned or leased by PPS. PPS reserves the right to monitor all computer and Internet activity by employees and other system users. Employees have no expectation of privacy in their use of school computers, including e-mail messages and stored files.
F. Confidentiality of Information
Employees are expected to use appropriate judgment and caution in communications concerning students and staff to ensure that personally identifiable information remains confidential. (For more information, see IHBAB, Student Educational Records Policy.)
G. Staff Responsibilities to Students
Teachers, staff members and volunteers who utilize school computers for instructional purposes with students have a duty to supervise such use. Teachers, staff members and volunteers are expected to be familiar with the Portland Public Schools’ policies and rules concerning student computer and Internet use and to enforce them. When, in the course of their duties, employees/volunteers become aware of student violations, they are expected to stop the activity and inform the school principal, Building Technology Coordinator (BTC) and/or the CTS Department.
H. Compensation for Losses, Costs and/or Damages
The employee shall be responsible for any losses, costs or damages incurred by PPS related to violations of policy GCSA and/or these rules.
I. Portland Public Schools Assumes No Responsibility for Unauthorized Charges, Costs or Illegal Use
PPS assumes no responsibility for any unauthorized charges made by employees including but not limited to credit card charges, subscriptions, long distance telephone charges, equipment and line costs, or for any illegal use of its computers such as copyright violations.
Cross Reference: GCSA - Employee Computer and Internet Use