Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies are a set of expectations written to clarify responsible and authorized use of technology within schools.  These documents are written to protect students and school districts from the potential dangers of technology such as hacking, sharing of inappropriate information, disturbing images and language, etc.

In my words an AUP must include a student/parent friendly explanation of what an AUP is and why it is important for the safety of the student and the school/district.  The AUP must tell users what is covered in the policy and let users know what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate use as well as the consequences for violating the expectations.  The National Education Association provides a suggestion of six components that should be included in an AUP. They are:

  1. Preamble: explains why it’s necessary and the process for developing the AUP.
  2. Definition:  should define the goals and key words used in the AUP.
  3. Policy Statement:  tells what technology/computer services are covered and under what circumstances students can use them (Ex. Must read and sign the AUP).
  4. Acceptable Uses: when and how students can use the technology/computer services.
  5. Unacceptable Uses: gives clear and specific examples of what constitutes unacceptable student use.
  6. Violations/Sanctions: how violations of the policy will be handled, consequences. (Education World)

Examples:

Thornhill Elementary School – This document clearly defines acceptable and unacceptable uses including a great section on publishing information on the internet.

Monroe Township Public Schools – Monroe provides a lengthy but detailed policy mostly focusing on what is not acceptable. 

Williamstown Elementary – This policy has a great introduction (preamble) about the necessity for an AUP.  It also constructs what is acceptable/unacceptable into “I” statements that the student must agree to.

Plymouth-Shiloh Local School District – This AUP is organized much like a legal document.  It includes the sections as recommended by the NEA.

References

Education World: Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. (n.d.). Education world: The educator’s best friend. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

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One response

  1. Craig,
    I agree with a lot of what you found. I noticed a similar set of standards from the NEA site, though I somewhat disagree with the need for a Preamble. I would presume anyone reading an AUP probably doesn’t need to see an explanation regarding that documents existence. I suppose it’s one of the law driven document aspects that eats up paper and hard drive space in order to justify its own existence.

    Anyway, I like your suggestion of including a student/parent friendly version or section of the AUP. While some parents may understand the technical terms defined and used in an AUP, many will need easier words written simply to grasp the concepts being presented.

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