Policy Details Page
These procedures are written to support the Electronic Resources Policy of the board of directors and to protect and promote the digital rights and students and staff in a positive and effective digital environment. Digital rights include the norms of respectful, responsible, safe, and healthy behavior related to current technology use. Successful, technologically-fluent students and staff recognize and value the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning, and working in an interconnected digital world. Students and staff cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world. Expectations for student and staff behavior online are no different from face-to-face interactions.
The following regulation applies to all district staff and students and covers all aspects of the district network. The district network includes wired and wireless computers/devices and peripheral equipment, files and storage (cloud-based, server-based, etc.), e-mail, internet content, and all computer software, applications, or resources licensed to the district.
Use of Personal Electronic Devices
In accordance with all district policies and procedures, students and staff may use personal electronic devices (e.g. laptops, mobile devices, and e-readers) to further the educational and research mission of the district. School staff will retain the final authority in deciding when and how students may use personal electronic devices on school grounds and during the school day. Absent a specific and articulated need (e.g. assistive technology), students do not have an absolute right to possess or use personal electronic devices at school.
The district network includes wired and wireless devices and peripheral equipment, files and storage, e-mail, and internet content (blogs, websites, collaboration software, social networking sites, applications, etc.). The district reserves the right to prioritize the use of, and access to, the network.
Acceptable Network Use
All use of the network must support education and research and be consistent with the mission of the district. Acceptable network use by district students and staff include:
A. Participation and use of the district approved learning management system for classroom teaching and learning;
B. Creation of files, digital projects, videos, web pages, and podcasts using approved digital resources in support of education and research;
C. Participation in approved social networking sites and groups, and the creation of content for podcasts, e-mail, and webpages that support education and research;
D. With parental permission, the online publication of original educational material, curriculum-related materials, and student work. Sources outside the classroom or school must be cited appropriately;
E. Staff use of the network for incidental personal use in accordance with all district policies and procedures; or
F. The connection of any personal electronic device is subject to all procedures in this document and district policy.
Unacceptable Network Use
Tacoma Public Schools staff and students are prohibited from engaging in any activity that would be considered unethical under local, state, federal, or international law while utilizing Tacoma Public Schools-owned resources. Unacceptable network use by district students and staff includes but is not limited to:
A. Personal gain, commercial solicitation, and compensation of any kind;
B. Actions that result in liability or cost incurred by the district;
C. Downloading, installing and use of games, audio files, video files, games, or other applications (including shareware or freeware) without permission or approval;
D. Support for or opposition to ballot measures, candidates, and any other political activity;
E. Hacking, cracking, vandalizing, the introduction of malware, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, time bombs, etc., and changes to hardware, software, and monitoring tools;
F. Unauthorized access to other district computers, networks, and information systems;
G. Action constituting harassment, intimidation, or bullying, including cyberbullying, hate mail, defamation, discriminatory jokes, and remarks. This may also include the manufacture, distribution, or possession of inappropriate digital images;
H. Information posted, sent, or stored online that could endanger others (e.g., bomb construction, drug manufacturing);
I. Accessing, uploading, downloading, storage and distribution of obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit material
J. Attaching unauthorized devices to the district network. Any such device will be confiscated and additional disciplinary action may be taken; or
K. Any unlawful use of the district network, including but not limited to stalking, blackmail, violation of copyright laws, and fraud.
The district will not be responsible for any damages suffered by any user, including but not limited to, loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, misdeliveries, or service interruptions caused by his/her own negligence or any other errors or omissions. The district will not be responsible for unauthorized financial obligations resulting from the use of, or access to, the district’s computer network or the Internet.
All students will be educated about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response:
A. Age-appropriate materials will be made available for use across grade levels; and
B. Training on online safety issues and materials implementation will be made available for administration, staff, and families.
Unacceptable use of personal information and inappropriate content by district students and staff includes but is not limited to:
A. Students and staff should not reveal personal information, including a home address and phone number on web sites, blogs, podcasts, videos, social networking sites, e-mail, or as content on any other electronic medium;
B. Students and staff should not reveal personal information about another individual on any electronic medium without first obtaining permission; including recording video conference sessions or posting sound, video, or images (such as screenshots) of faculty, students, or others on web sites, blogs, podcasts, videos, social networking sites, e-mail, or as content on any other electronic medium;
C. No student pictures or names can be published on any public class, school or district website unless the appropriate permission has been obtained according to district policy
D. If students encounter dangerous or inappropriate information or messages, they should notify the appropriate school authority; and
E. Students should be aware of the persistence of their digital information, including images and social media activity, which may remain on the internet indefinitely.
Filtering and Monitoring
Filtering software is used to block or filter access to visual depictions that are obscene and all child pornography in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Other objectionable material could be filtered. The determination of what constitutes “other objectionable” material is a local decision.
A. Filtering software is not 100 percent effective. While filters make it more difficult for objectionable material to be received or accessed, filters are not a solution in themselves. Every user must take responsibility for his/her use of the network and internet and avoid objectionable sites;
B. Any attempts to defeat or bypass the district’s Internet filter or conceal Internet activity are prohibited (e.g., proxies, https, special ports, modifications to district browser settings, and any other techniques designed to evade filtering or enable the publication of inappropriate content);
C. E-mail inconsistent with the educational and research mission of the district will be considered SPAM and blocked from entering district e-mail boxes;
D. Staff members who supervise students, control electronic equipment, or have occasion to observe student use of said equipment online, must make a reasonable effort to monitor the use of this equipment to assure that student use conforms to the mission and goals of the district;
E. Staff must make a reasonable effort to become familiar with the internet and to monitor, instruct, and assist effectively;
G. The district may monitor student use of the district network, including when accessed on students’ personal electronic devices and devices provided by the district, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets; and
H. The district will provide a procedure for students and staff members to anonymously request access to internet websites blocked by the district's filtering software. The procedure will indicate a timeframe for a designated school official to respond to the request. The requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) will be considered in the evaluation of the request. The district will provide an appeal process for requests that are denied.
Downloading, copying, duplicating, and distributing software, music, sound files, movies, images, or other copyrighted materials without the specific written permission of the copyright owner is generally prohibited. However, the duplication and distribution of materials for educational purposes is permitted when such duplication and distribution falls within the Fair Use Doctrine of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, USC) and content is cited appropriately.
Ownership of Work
All work completed by employees as part of their employment will be considered the property of the district. The District will own any and all rights to such work including any and all derivative works unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. All work completed by students as part of the regular instructional program is owned by the student as soon as it is created unless such work is created while the student is acting as an employee of the school system or unless such work has been paid for under a written agreement with the school system. If under an agreement with the district, the work will be considered the property of the district. Staff members must obtain a student’s permission prior to distributing his/her work to parties outside the school.
Network Security and Privacy
Staff, students, or other users should not expect privacy when using the district's network. The district reserves the right to disclose any electronic messages to law enforcement officials or third-parties as appropriate. All documents are subject to the public records disclosure laws of the State of Washington.
Passwords are the first level of security for a user account. System logins and accounts are to be used only by the authorized owner of the account for authorized district purposes. Students and staff are responsible for all activity on their account and must not share their account password.
The following procedures are designed to safeguard network user accounts:
A. Change passwords according to district policy;
B. Do not use another user’s account;
C. Do not insert passwords into an e-mail or other communications;
D. If you write down your user account password, keep it in a secure location;
E. Do not store passwords in a file without encryption;
F. Do not use the “remember password” feature of Internet browsers; and
G. Lock the screen or log off if leaving the computer.
Further guidance on network security and privacy can be found in Board Policy 6973R.
Student Data is Confidential
District staff must maintain the confidentiality of student data in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
No Expectation of Privacy
The district provides the network system, e-mail, and internet access as a tool for education and research in support of the district’s mission. The district reserves the right to monitor, inspect, copy, review, and store, without prior notice, information about the content and usage of:
A. The district network, including when accessed on students’ personal electronic devices and on devices provided by the district, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets;
B. User files and disk space utilization;
C. User applications and bandwidth utilization;
D. User document files, folders, and electronic communications;
F. Internet access; and
G. Any and all information transmitted or received in connection with network and e-mail use.
No student or staff user should have any expectation of privacy when using the district’s network. The district reserves the right to disclose any electronic messages to law enforcement officials or third-parties as appropriate. All documents are subject to the public records disclosure laws of the State of Washington.
Educational Applications and Programs
District staff may request students to download or sign up for applications or programs on the students’ personal electronic devices. Such applications and programs are designed to help facilitate lectures, student assessment, communication, and teacher-student feedback, among other things.
Archive and Backup
Backup is made of all district e-mail correspondence for purposes of public disclosure and disaster recovery. Barring power outage or intermittent technical issues, staff and student files are backed up on district servers regularly. Refer to the district retention policy for specific records retention requirements.
All users of the district’s electronic resources are required to comply with the district’s policy and procedures. Violation of any of the conditions of use could be cause for disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from school and suspension or revocation of network and computer access privileges.
Accessibility of Electronic Resources
Federal law prohibits people, on the basis of disability (such as seeing and hearing impairments), from being excluded from participation in, being denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination by the district. To ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to district programs, activities, and services, the content and functionality of websites associated with the district should be accessible. Such websites may include but are not limited to, the district’s homepage, teacher websites, district-operated social media pages, and online class lectures.
District staff with the authority to create or modify website content or functionality associated with the district will take reasonable measures to ensure that such content or functionality is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Cross References: Board Policy 2020 Curriculum Development & Adoption of Instructional Materials
2023 Digital Rights and Media Literacy
2025 Copyright Compliance
3207 Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
3210 Nondiscrimination of Students
3230 Student Privacy
3240 Student Conduct
3241 Student Discipline
4040 Public Access to District Records 4400 Election Activities
6300 Data Security
6973 Acceptable Use Policy for Digital Resources
Adoption Date: 8/11/2020