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4000 Series - Students » 3225/4312/7320 Technology Responsible Use

3225/4312/7320 Technology Responsible Use

Technology resources provide a unique opportunity to enhance global instruction, appeal to different learning styles, and meet the educational goals of the Wilkes County Board of Education. Through these resources, users can observe events as they occur around the world, interact with others on a variety of subjects, and acquire access to current, varied, and in-depth information.
Wilkes County Board of Education intends that students and employees benefit from these resources while remaining within the bounds of safe, legal, and responsible use. Accordingly, the Board establishes this policy to govern student and employee use of these technology resources. This policy applies regardless of whether such use occurs on or off school system property, and it applies to all system technological resources, including but not limited to computer networks and connections, the resources, tools, and learning environments made available by or on the networks, and all the devices that connect to those networks.

A. Expectations of Responsible Use

The use of school system technological resources, including access to the Internet, is expected to be exercised in an appropriate and responsible manner. Individual users of the school system’s technological resources are responsible for their behavior and communications when using those resources. Responsible use of school system technological resources is use that is ethical, respectful, academically honest, and supportive of student learning. Each user has the responsibility to respect others in the school community and on the Internet. Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette.
General student and employee behavior standards, including those prescribed in applicable board policies, student behavior policies (4300 series), and other regulations and school rules, apply to the use of school technological resources, including access to the Internet.
In addition, anyone who uses school system computers or electronic devices, or who accesses the school system network or the Internet using school system resources must comply with the additional rules for responsible use listed in Section B below. These rules are intended to clarify expectations for conduct but should not be construed as all-inclusive.
All students must be trained about appropriate online behavior as provided in policy 3226/4205, Internet Safety.
Failure to adhere to the requirements of this policy will result in disciplinary action, including revocation of user privileges. Willful misuse may result in criminal prosecution for any user under applicable state and federal law, disciplinary action for students, and/or adverse personnel action for employees.

B. Rules for Use of School Technological Resources for All Users

  1. School system technological resources are provided primarily for school-related purposes. Acceptable uses of such technological resources are limited to responsible, efficient, and legal activities that support teaching and learning. Accessing programs and websites not appropriate for educational use is prohibited. Use of school system technological resources for commercial/personal gain, profit, to advertise a product, or to promote a political position is also prohibited. Students will not participate in Internet instant message activities, visit chat rooms, access personal email accounts (unless it is a curriculum-related requirement), or participate in any activity that may cause harm to themselves or others. It is the responsibility of school administrators to address such violations (see Consequences Section H). Because some incidental and occasional personal use by employees is inevitable, the board permits infrequent and brief personal use by employees so long as it occurs on personal time, does not interfere with school system business, and is not otherwise prohibited by board policy or procedure.
  1. Only employees of Wilkes County Schools’ technology department may setup, repair, configure, or install school-owned hardware or software.
  1. Unless authorized by law to do so and granted permission by the technology director or his or her designee, users may not make copies of software or install software purchased by the school system. Under no circumstance may software purchased by the school system be copied for personal use. Only technical staff assigned to the technology department are authorized to install software on Wilkes County Schools devices.
  1. Users who are issued school system-owned and maintained devices for home use (such as laptops, Chromebooks, etc.) are responsible for securing devices against theft, vandalism, or abuse. Any damaged or stolen equipment must be reported as soon as possible to a member of the technology department.
  1. Users must follow all software, application, website, or subscription service terms and conditions of use.
  1. Users must comply with all applicable laws, board policies, administrative regulations, and school standards and rules, including those relating to copyrights and trademarks, confidential information, public records, and intellectual property. Plagiarism of Internet resources will be treated in the same manner as any other incidents of plagiarism, as stated in the student behavior policies (4300 series). Technological resources may not be used to facilitate the sharing of copyrighted materials.
  1. No user of technological resources, including a person sending or receiving electronic communications, may engage in creating, intentionally viewing, accessing, downloading, storing, printing, or transmitting images, graphics (including still or moving pictures), sound files, text files, documents, messages, or other material that is obscene, defamatory, inflammatory, profane, pornographic, harassing, abusive, bullying, or considered to be harmful to minors.
  1. Users of technological resources may not read, alter, change, block, execute, or delete files or communications belonging to another user without the owner’s express prior permission. Users may not send electronic communications fraudulently (i.e., by misrepresenting the identity of the sender) or send/forward chain emails.
  1. Users may not intentionally or negligently damage computers, computer systems, electronic devices, software, or computer networks, or alter the data of any user. Users may not knowingly or negligently transmit computer viruses or self-replicating messages or deliberately try to degrade or disrupt system performance, such as streaming audio or video for non-instructional purposes. Users may not disable antivirus programs installed on school system-owned or issued devices.
  1. Users may not create or introduce games, network communications programs, or any foreign program or software onto any school system computer, electronic device, or network without the express permission of the technology director or designee.
  1. Users are prohibited from engaging in unauthorized or unlawful activities, such as "hacking" or using the computer network to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized or unlawful access to other computers, computer systems, or accounts.
  1. Users must not circumvent firewalls. The use of anonymous proxies to circumvent content filtering is prohibited.
  1. Users are prohibited from using another individual’s ID or password for any technological resource or account. Sharing of an individual’s unique ID or password is prohibited. Passwords and other personal information will not be shared or posted in a conspicuous location. Because it falls within the inherent nature of their jobs, the Board recognizes that members of the technology department with a professional/business need can request or access and work under a user’s login credentials.
  1. Employees shall not use passwords or user IDs for any data system (e.g. the state student information and instructional improvement system applications, time-keeping software, etc.) for an unauthorized or improper purpose.
  1. It is the user’s responsibility to back up data and other important files.
  1. If a user identifies or encounters an instance of unauthorized access or another security concern, he or she must immediately notify a teacher, school system administrator, or a member of the technology department. Users must not demonstrate the problem or share it with other users. Any user identified as a security risk will be denied access.
  1. Users must respect the privacy of others.
  1. Users must not reveal any personally identifiable, private, or confidential information about themselves or others when using email or other forms of electronic communication. Such information includes, for example, a person’s home address or telephone number, credit or checking account information, or social security number. For further information regarding what constitutes personal identifying information, see policy 4705/7825, Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information.
  1. School employees must not disclose on school system websites or webpages or elsewhere on the Internet any personally identifiable, private, or confidential information concerning students (including full names, addresses, or pictures) without the written permission of a parent or guardian or an eligible student, except as otherwise permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), policy 3227/7322, Web Page Development, or policy 4700, Student Records.
  1. Users may not forward or post communications of a personal, sensitive, or confidential nature without the author’s prior consent.
  1. Students may not use school system technological resources to capture audio, video, or still pictures of other students and/or employees in which such individuals can be personally identified, nor share such media in any way, without consent of the students and/or employees and the principal or designee. An exception will be made for settings where students and staff cannot be identified beyond the context of a sports performance or other public event or when otherwise approved by the principal.
  1. Employees will make every reasonable effort to supervise students’ use of the Internet and technological resources during instructional time and while under their care on school grounds or for school-related activities.
  1. Views may be expressed on the Internet or other technological resources as representing the view of the school system or part of the school system only with prior approval by the superintendent or designee.
  1. Users must adhere to any other reasonable rules or guidelines issued by the superintendent or technology director for the use of technological resources.

C. Restricted Material on the Internet

The Internet and electronic communications offer fluid environments in which students may access or be exposed to materials and information from diverse and rapidly changing sources, including some that may be harmful to students. The Board of Education recognizes that it is impossible to predict with certainty what information on the Internet students may access or obtain. Parents, students, and employees should be aware that the school district filters the Internet and email and monitors use of its technological resources; however, no filtering software is 100% effective. Before a student may use the Internet, the legal parent/guardian should know the possibility exists that the student could obtain access to inappropriate material. The school district only supports individual students using filtered email accounts and age-appropriate technology resources for instructional purposes. The school district has established technology protection measures that guard against access to visual depictions that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors, including violence, nudity, or graphic language that does not serve a legitimate pedagogical purpose. The Board of Education shall enforce the operation of these technology measures as provided in policy 3226/4205, Internet Safety. Wilkes County Board of Education is not responsible for the content accessed by using a cellular network to connect a personal device to the Internet. The user is ultimately responsible for his or her activity on the Internet.
In the event a legal parent/guardian chooses not to allow their child to participate in web-based activities, it is the responsibility of the parent to notify the school principal in writing annually. Permission is not necessary for student participation in required online testing.

D. Privacy

Students, employees, visitors, and other users have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, delete, receive, or display when using the school system’s network, devices, Internet access, email system, or other technological resources owned or issued by the school system, whether the resources are used at school or elsewhere, and even if the use is for personal purposes. Users should not assume that files or communications created, transmitted, or displayed using school system technological resources or stored on servers, the storage mediums of individual devices, or on school-managed cloud services will be private. Under certain circumstances, school officials may be required to disclose such electronic information to law enforcement or other third parties.
The school system may, without notice, (1) monitor, track, and/or log network access, communications, and use; (2) monitor and allocate fileserver space; and (3) access, review, copy, store, delete, or disclose the content of all user files, regardless of medium, the content of electronic mailboxes issued by the school system, and system outputs, such as printouts, at any time for any lawful purpose. School system personnel may monitor online activities of individuals who access the Internet via a school-owned device.
By using the school system’s network, Internet access, electronic devices, email system, devices, or other technological resources, individuals consent to have that use monitored by authorized school system personnel as described in this policy.

E. Use of Personal Technology on School System Property

Users may not use private WiFi hotspots or other personal technology on campus to establish wireless connectivity. Users must use the school system’s wireless network to connect school-owned devices to the Internet while on campus. Students’ devices are governed also by policy 4304, Student Possession and Use of Wireless Communication Devices. Use of personal technology devices for staff is also subject to any rules established in policy 3220, Technology in the Educational Program. Students are provided devices in grades K-13; therefore, student personal computers, tablets, Chromebooks, and iPads are not permitted for use on school premises as outlined in policy 3220, Technology in the Educational Program. The school system assumes no responsibility for personal technology devices brought to school.

F. Personal Websites

The superintendent may use any means available to request the removal of personal websites that substantially disrupt the school environment or that utilize school system or individual school names, logos, or trademarks without permission.
  1. Students

Though school personnel generally do not monitor students’ Internet activity conducted on non-school system devices during non-school hours, when the student’s online behavior has a direct and immediate effect on school safety or maintaining order and discipline in the schools. The student may be disciplined in accordance with board policy to the extent consistent with law (see student behavior policies in the 4300 series).

  1. Employees

Employees’ personal websites are subject to policy 3227/7322, Web Page Development and policy 7000, Standard of Professional Conduct. Employees are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on employees’ personal websites or online or social networking sites to prevent the possibility that students could view materials that are not age-appropriate. An employee may be terminated if the staff member engages in inappropriate online interaction with students.

  1. Volunteers

Volunteers are to maintain appropriate relationships with students at all times. Volunteers are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on volunteer personal websites or online or social networking sites to prevent the possibility that students could view materials that are not age-appropriate. An individual volunteer’s relationship with the school system may be terminated if the volunteer engages in inappropriate online interaction with students.

G. Use Agreements

All students, parents, and employees will be informed annually of the information in this policy through the student handbook and electronic employee policies. Prior to using school system technological resources, students and employees must agree to comply with the requirements of this policy and consent to the school system’s use of monitoring systems to monitor and detect inappropriate use of technological resources. This is done online by electronically accepting the Rules for Use of School Technological Resources for All Users outlined in this policy before gaining access to the Internet. In addition, the parent/legal guardian must consent to their student accessing the Internet using Wilkes County Schools’ COPPA Permission Form and by accepting the Wilkes County Schools’ policy handbook. These consents also confirm parental/guardian agreement to the monitoring of the student’s Internet activity, email, cloud storage, and network storage issued by the school system on school-provided accounts and school-owned devices.
Unless a change is made to the COPPA Permission Form that requires the submission of new forms, parental/guardian permission remains in effect for the duration of the student’s enrollment in Wilkes County Schools. Parents/guardians wishing to revoke this permission should submit a request in writing to the school principal.

H. Consequences

Student offenses will result in one or more of the following at the discretion of school administrators in accordance with the policies of the Board of Education:
  • Notification to legal parent/guardian
  • Financial compensation for damages or replacement costs by student/parent/guardian
  • Limitation or loss of user privileges
  • Suspension or other appropriate disciplinary action
  • Notification of illegal activities or vandalism to the appropriate authorities.
Employee offenses will result in one or more of the following at the discretion of school or district officials in accordance with the policies of the Board of Education:
  • Private consultation with school or district officials
  • Financial compensation for damages or replacement costs
  • Limitation or loss of user privileges
  • Letter of reprimand placed in personnel folder
  • Suspension, termination, or other disciplinary action
  • Notification of illegal activities or vandalism to the appropriate authorities. 
Legal References:  U.S. Const. amends. I; Children’s Internet Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5); Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 7131; G.S. 115C-325(e) (applicable to career status teachers), -325.4 (applicable to non-career status teachers)
Cross References:  Curriculum and Instructional Guides (policy 3115), Technology in the Educational Program (policy 3220), Internet Safety (policy 3226/4205), Web Page Development (policy 3227/7322), Copyright Compliance (policy 3230/7330), Student Behavior Policies (all policies in the 4300 series), Public Records (policy 5070), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Student Records (policy 4700), Confidentiality of Personal Identifying Information (policy 4705/7825); Public Records (policy 5070), Use of Equipment, Materials, and Supplies (policy 6520), Network Security (policy 6524), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300)
Adopted:  May 17, 2004
Revised:  November 7, 2005, July 7, 2008, June 7, 2010, January 31, 2011, December 5, 2011, June 16, 2014, June 1, 2015, January 10, 2022