Network Use

323R - Computer Network and Internet Use

The goal of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in providing computer network access is to support instructional programs and administrative operations.

In support of this goal, connections to local, regional, and worldwide resources are provided.

The FCPS wide area network is established solely to support the mission of the school division. This regulation provides general guidelines and an example of prohibited uses for illustrative purposes, but does not attempt to state all required or prohibited activities by users.

A. Access to School Computers, Networks and Internet Services

1. Access to the FCPS network is permitted to the extent that available resources allow.

2. The level of access that employees have to school computers, networks and Internet services is based upon specific employee job requirements and needs.

3. Students in grades K-5 may have access to the network through a classroom account managed by school personnel.

4. Students in grades 6-12 may have access to the network either through an individual account or a classroom account managed by school personnel.

5. As appropriate, Frederick County Public Schools will make decisions on whether specific uses of its network are consistent with this regulation. Frederick County Public Schools shall remain the final authority on use of the network and the issuance and cancellation of user accounts.

B. Acceptable Use

1. Any user's traffic that traverses another network may be subject to that network's acceptable use policy.

2. Parents and eligible students must annually notify the office of the student’s school in writing if they do not want the school division or the media to have access to their image, voice recordings or other similar identifying information during school-day operations; otherwise, they will be deemed to have given their permission for publication and/or broadcast of their image, voice recordings, other similar identifying information, and work by the school division and the media.

Such notification will remain in effect through the end of the current school year and must be renewed annually.

3. Employees are to utilize the school division’s 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 regulation and all other applicable policies, procedures and rules of Frederick County Public Schools. All such communication is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

4. FCPS network resources will not be used as the sole instructional research source, but rather will be considered with all research tools available in the library and/or classroom.

5. Given the fluid nature of many network resources, students and staff must evaluate the validity and appropriateness of a particular resource for a given assignment or application.

C. Prohibited Use

All users are prohibited from knowingly using Frederick County Public School computing resources in such a way that does not promote the educational or instructional program or administrative operations of FCPS. General examples of prohibited uses which are expressly prohibited include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Users are responsible for all activities in or from their account. To safeguard accounts, passwords may not be shared, logged-in workstations are not to be left unattended, and access may not be provided to another person by the account owner.

2. Any use of the FCPS network for personal gain such as operating a business, soliciting money, or product advertising is prohibited. Political lobbying also is prohibited.

3. Any use that is illegal or in violation of school board policies and regulations, including harassing, discriminatory or threatening communications and behavior; violations of copyright laws, etc. is prohibited.

4. Any student access or attempt to access the following is prohibited during the instructional day unless it is school approved or teacher-supervised filtered Internet communication: instant messages, chat rooms, forums, e‑mail, message boards, or hosted web pages.

5. Any use involving materials that are obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive are prohibited.

6. Any inappropriate communications among/between students, or adults, is prohibited.

7. Use of the FCPS network to impersonate other individuals in electronic communication, such as forging electronic mail, is prohibited.

8. Any attempt to circumvent security safeguards, guess passwords, or in any way gain unauthorized access to any system or files is prohibited.

9. FCPS wiring, computer hardware, and software may not be tampered with or modified.

10. Knowingly opening or forwarding any e-mail attachments from unknown sources and/or that may contain viruses is prohibited.

11. Downloading or loading software or applications without permission from the system administrator is prohibited.

12. Students are to report unacceptable use to a supervising adult at the school. Employees have the responsibility to report unacceptable use of FCPS computer resources to their immediate supervisor or a representative of the information technology department.

13. Any malicious use or disruption of the school division’s computers, networks and Internet services or breach of security features is strictly prohibited.

14. Any misuse or damage to the school division’s computer equipment is prohibited.

15. Any communication that is in violation of generally accepted rules of network etiquette and/or professional conduct is prohibited.

16. Any intentional attempt to access unauthorized sites is prohibited.

17. Using school computers, networks and Internet services after such access has been denied or revoked is prohibited.

18. Any attempt to delete, erase or otherwise conceal any information stored on a school computer that is intended to violate these rules is prohibited

D. No Expectation of Privacy

The school division retains control, custody and supervision of all computers, networks and Internet services owned or leased by the school division. The school division reserves the right to monitor all computer and Internet activity by employees and other system users. Network users have no expectation of privacy in their use of school computers, including

e-mail messages and stored files.

E. Internet Access-Proxy Server

Internet access is provided via the FCPS network. Standard use of the www utilizes a proxy server based filter that screens for non-curriculum related pages as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000. Due to the nature of such filtering technology, the filter may at times filter pages that are appropriate for staff and student research. If appropriate, modifications may be made to provide access to these pages.

Modified accounts may be requested in writing through the school principal or administrative department head. Students and staff should be aware that all web access is logged by the server and that these logs may be reviewed by the system administrators periodically.

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.

G. Staff Responsibilities to Students

Teachers, staff members, substitutes, and volunteers who utilize school computers for instructional purposes with students have a duty of care to supervise such use. Teachers, staff members, substitutes, and volunteers are expected to be familiar with the school division’s 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 building principal.

Internet safety instruction is the responsibility of all instructional personnel. Internet safety will be integrated into the instructional curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12. Appropriate resources that comply with School Board policy and are aligned to the FCPS Internet Safety Program will be used as it applies to the content area.

H. Compensation for Unauthorized Losses, Costs and/or Damages

Students shall be responsible for any losses, costs or damages incurred by the school division related to violations of policy 323R (Computer Network and Internet Use) and/or these rules. The school division assumes no responsibility for any unauthorized charges made by students, 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.

I. Limitations

Frederick County Public Schools endeavors to provide safe and appropriate network computing resources for use by students and staff. However, it cannot provide a guarantee that students or staff may not be impacted by intentional or unintentional misuse of these resources.

J. Consequences for Violations

Misuse of FCPS computing resources or a violation of these regulations may result in the account or the user’s access privilege being denied, revoked, or suspended. Misuse may also subject the user to disciplinary action up to and including oral or written reprimand, suspension, as well as potential civil or criminal liability and prosecution.

K. Disciplinary Procedures (K-12)

  • The first offense shall result in a conference with a school administrator. Additional discipline may be assigned.

  • The second offense may result in a suspension. A referral may also be made to the superintendent or designee for further action.

  • Additional offenses may result in a referral to the superintendent or designee for further action.