When I first looked at the subject for this week I have to admit I was a bit unenthusiastic about looking at something like an Acceptable Use Policy. The subject of ‘policy’ can never be a fun thing to read about and often involves confusing jargon and long-winded sentences all saying the same thing. I was surprised to find how interesting these policies can be given our role in creating them and comparing them to the standards set forth by the National Education Association.
Looking at the policy I examined from Douglas County Colorado Schools, I was surprised to find how vague many of the sections were. The Policy Statement was mainly a section referencing others sections about rules and responsibilities. There was no clear definition section, especially pertaining to the all important IT (Information Technology), only to briefly mention computers and Internet access. The Acceptable Uses and Violations and Sanctions sections also point to other areas of the document for guidance. The only part of the six key elements that the NEA suggested that was clear was the Unacceptable Uses section.
In our post concerning the Coweta County School System and looking at other posts it is clear the Unacceptable Uses section has by far more unacceptable uses listed than acceptable. The acceptable uses can be rather broad while the unacceptable are very specific and numerous. I assume this is to cover all the bases and so the district does not find itself in a legal bind. It is unfortunate that creativity has to be mitigated by legal issues and lists of what cannot be done, but given that some students will always try to break the rules, it is a necessity.
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