Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the right to freedom of speech and the corollary right to receive information. Such rights extend to minors as well as adults. Schools facilitate the exercise of these rights by providing access to information regardless of format or technology. In a free and democratic society, access to information is a fundamental right of citizenship.

    The Board of School Trustees of Hanover Community Schools recognizes the importance of computer education and computer access in preparing students for the future. Because external networks, such as Internet, offer students virtually unlimited information from the world at large, network access shall be developed and encouraged.

    While the District’s intent is to make INTERNET access available in order to further educational goals and objectives, not all information which can be accessed from external networks is appropriate to the education of our students; consequently, administration shall develop an agreement for the use of external networks which shall specify guidelines to help ensure appropriate utilization by students and staff members. All staff members and students will be expected to sign the agreement before using an external network.

    Staff members are responsible for supervision of student use of any external network according to the guidelines specified in the agreement. Hanover will do its utmost to supervise the conduct of students and staff during the school day. Parents and guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media and information sources outside of school. Toward that end, Hanover Community Schools makes this complete policy and its accompanying procedures available on request for review by all parents, guardians, and other members of the community; and provides parents the option of requesting for their minor children alternative activities not requiring INTERNET use.

    The provisions of this policy and content of the administrative procedure for this policy are subordinate to local, State, and Federal statute.

    The following fundamental parameters of electronic media use apply:

      A. The use of school technology equipment, including access to the Internet, the Web, and e-mail, is a privilege, not a right, and is subject to regulation, denial, and discipline for misuse.
      B. One cannot expect that his/her use of the equipment is subject to any expectation of privacy whatsoever.
      C. Any speech transmitted by the use of a school computer does not constitute speech in a "public forum", and is subject to regulation by the administration.
      D. Information stored or transmitted on school-owned hardware is not private and is open for review by the Superintendent or a person designated by the Superintendent.
      E. Defaming a person’s character through print or pictures is strictly prohibited.
      F. A student, staff member, parent, or community member must not share his/her password, special passwords provided for extraneous purposes, or user names.
      G. No one is allowed to by-pass the Internet filter unless permission is granted by the administration or the Technology Coordinator.

    Internet and World-Wide Web access must be restricted for all students, especially minors (any person less than seventeen (17) years of age) in the following manner:

      A. "Blocking" or "filtering" technology will be installed on all computers with Internet access. The blocking or filtering must protect against access to certain visual depictions described below:
        1. obscenity;
        2. child pornography;
        3. material harmful to minors, which means any picture, image, graphic image file, sexually explicit materials in print or depicted that, with respect to minors: taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of their genitals; and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
      B. Hanover Community Schools will make every effort to prevent all access to depictions as detailed above.
      C. Access by minors to inappropriate material on the Internet and the Web will be blocked or filtered as described above.
      D. The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications will be monitored and protected.
      E. Unauthorized access, including so-called "hacking," and other unlawful activities by minors online is prohibited and subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in the Acceptable Use Policy.
      F. The building principal is responsible for ensuring that minors and other students utilize the Internet and the Web appropriately and will scrutinize requests to by-pass the blocking or filtering technology installed.

    Violations of the internet policy will result in any of the following:

      A. suspension from Internet usage;
      B. revocation of the privilege to use the Internet;
      C. loss of network privileges;
      D. suspension or expulsion from school (student);
      E. disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand (staff);
        If there is a reprimand on file, the offense will be considered insubordination and the person may be terminated from employment with Hanover Community Schools.
      F. referral to local law enforcement authorities.

    It is the responsibility of the Superintendent, or designee to communicate this policy to students, staff, and members of the community and to establish an administrative procedure whereby the Internet and World-wide Web usage and the attempts to over-ride the blocking or filtering are monitored regularly.

    Reference: The children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (P.L. 106-554).

    Adopted 6/22/03