General User Policy
basic principles that animate the Internet Acceptable Use Policy that
follows is to:
· make powerful
new Internet resources, especially broadband access, widely and equitably
available and affordable for all learners;
continuous and relevant training and support for educators and
· build a new
research framework of how people learn in the Internet age;
· develop high
quality online educational content that meets the highest standards of
intended that Internet access will improve the processes of teaching and
learning as well as facilitate improvements in communication between all
members of the learning community, especially between parents and
teachers. The Department seeks to establish a secure, appropriate
virtual learning space that will be available, during and after regular
school hours. In essence, Internet access hopefully can function as
an all encompassing “home base” for the instructional business of the
entire community of learners embraced by the public schools of New York
City. Through Internet access, students, parents, and educators will
have extended access to learning opportunities at home, at public
libraries, or at any other location at which the Internet can be reached.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF ACCESS
The Department of Education of the City of New York (the “Department") is
obtaining access to the Internet, including access to e-mail, for its
employees, Department members, students, and guests. Guests include but
are not limited to parents, substitute teachers, temporary Department
employees, parent volunteers, and other school volunteers.
access and the use of e-mail through the use of the Department's system,
has a limited educational purpose. The term "educational purpose" includes
use of the system by students and their parents for learning activities
both in school and at home, employee professional or career development,
communication between teachers, students and their parents and the
facilitation of information-sharing between teachers and administrators
throughout the New York City school system. If any user has a
question whether their Internet use is consistent with the Department’s
educational purpose, goals, and mission, s/he should consult with the
appropriate supervisor, principal, teacher, etc.
Acceptable Use Policy governs all electronic activity, including e-mail
and access to the Internet, which is undertaken by Department of Education
employees, students, and parents/guardians either in their official
Department of Education capacity or as part of the educational,
instructional or extracurricular programs connected to the
Department. No Department of Education employee, student, or
parent/guardian may engage in activities prohibited by this IAUP, whether
through the Department's Internet service or through another Internet
Service Provider, when those activities are undertaken either in their
official Department of Education capacity or as part of the educational,
instructional, or extracurricular programs of the Department of
As with other
curricular offerings and tools, parents do not have a general right to opt
their child out of classroom use of the Internet. As set forth more
fully below however, parental consent is required with respect to certain
aspects of Internet use (e.g., posting a child’s photograph on a school
web page). Parents moreover, are strongly encouraged to discuss and
monitor their child’s school Internet use and to discuss any issues or
concerns that they may have with the school’s teacher and
Student access to the Internet will be governed by this policy, related
Department regulations, and the Citywide Standards of Conduct and Uniform
Disciplinary Measures ("the student disciplinary code"). Employee use will
be governed by this policy, related Department regulations, Department
employment policy, and applicable collective bargaining agreements. All
use will be in compliance with the acceptable use provisions of the
Internet service provider.
The Department reserves the right to terminate any user’s access to the
Internet, including access to e-mail, at any time and for any
reason. The Department reserves the right to monitor all Internet
access, including all e-mail, through use of the Department’s system. The
Department specifically reserves the right to revoke access and/or take
other appropriate disciplinary action, with respect to any user who
violates this policy.
The Chancellor, or his/her designee, will serve as the coordinator to
oversee Internet access via use of Department systems.
District staff are responsible for the dissemination of this Internet
Policy and will work with schools to enforce this policy.
Each district must adopt a written district plan for the implementation of
this policy by September 2001. Each district’s plan must designate,
for each school building in the district, a building-level coordinator for
the Department’s Internet and e-mail system and must include a customer
service telephone number for users to call with questions or comments
about the Internet Acceptable Use Policy. The building-level
coordinator may be the building principal or his/her designee. The
building-level coordinator will approve building-level activities, ensure
teachers receive proper training in the use of the system and of this
policy, establish a system to ensure adequate supervision of students
using the system, maintain executed user agreements if applicable and be
responsible for interpreting the Internet Acceptable Use Policy at the
building level. Although this Internet Acceptable Use Policy does not
require execution of user agreements by students or employees, the
District may institute such a district-wide or school-based
requirement. All district plans must also establish a process for
modifying the Internet filtering software or for defiltering.
The Department reserves the right to revise this Internet Acceptable Use
Policy as it deems necessary and will post the current policy on its web
site as notice to users of any revisions. Users are responsible for
reading the policy regularly.
Users who require technical assistance with Internet access or e-mail
should call the Department of Education Help Desk at (718)
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
The Department makes no warranties of any kind, either express or implied,
that the functions or the services provided by or through the Department
system will be error-free or without defect. The Department will not be
responsible for any damage users may suffer, including but not limited to,
loss of data or interruptions of service. The Department is not
responsible for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained
through or stored on the system. The Department will not be responsible
for financial obligations arising from a user’s unauthorized use of the
Users will indemnify and hold the Department and its respective districts
harmless from any losses sustained by the Department as a result of
intentional misuse of the system by user.
Department has installed Internet filtering software in an attempt to
block user access to inappropriate and/or harmful text on the
Internet. The software works by scanning web site addresses, web
site content, e-mail and other documents for objectionable words or
concepts. Objectionable words and concepts are pre-determined by the
Department. When the software finds any such objectionable words or
concepts, it denies the user access to them based on the level of access
assigned to the word or concept by the Department. Generally, levels
of access go from the least restrictive level, which allows users access
to the web site or document that contains the word or concept, to the most
restrictive level, which denies users access to the web site or document
that contains the word or concept. There are levels between these
two levels that neither automatically allow or automatically deny access
but rather, prompts the software to perform a more in-depth review of the
web site or document to determine whether it is objectionable (e.g., for
high school students, the word or concept “breast” would fall into this
intermediate level so a student who is doing research on breast cancer
would be allowed access to web sites or documents related to “breasts” but
a student looking for pornography would be denied access to pornography
related to “breasts”). Filtering technology is not perfect and
therefore, may in effect interfere with legitimate educational
default level of access that will be granted to students varies depending
and are referenced in subsections a, b, and c below. Each district
shall establish a process for modifying the filter or for defiltering
Internet access for students when it is educationally appropriate.
The district process must indicate whether defiltering requests are to be
approved at the district or school level and appropriate monitoring
mechanisms must be established by the district. No filtering
software is one hundred percent effective and it is possible that the
software could fail. In the event that the filtering software is
unsuccessful and children gain access to inappropriate and/or harmful
material, the Department will not be liable.
Default filtering levels for grades Kindergarten through 5:
The filter is set at the most restrictive setting in restricting access to
Internet sites that may contain interactive chat or mail or information
basic sex education
advanced sex education
Default filtering levels for grades 6 through 8:
Same setting as Kindergarten through 5 above.
Default filtering levels for grades 9 through 12:
filter is modified to be less restrictive consistent with age and
REGULATIONS OF ACCESS
Review of Access Privileges
The Department will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal
officials in any lawful investigation concerning or relating to any
illegal activities conducted through the Department system.
The Department may revoke Internet access in its sole discretion. If
a student’s access is revoked, the Department will ensure that the student
nonetheless continues to have a meaningful opportunity to participate in
the educational program.
Student disciplinary actions should be tailored to meet specific concerns
related to the violation and to assist the student in gaining the
self-discipline necessary to behave appropriately on an electronic
network. If the alleged violation also involves a violation of other
provisions of the student disciplinary code, the violation will be handled
in accordance with the applicable provision of the code.
Employee violations of the Department Internet Acceptable Use Policy will
be handled by appropriate discipline.
The Department reserves the right to use “cookies” on its site.
Cookies are computer programs that allow the Department, among other
things, to verify whether a visitor is an authorized user of the
Department’s system and that store information about a user on a computer
hard drive or disk. Information stored includes, but may not be
limited to, the date and time a user visits the site and information about
the user’s activities while online. Any information gathered is
obtained solely for the purpose of improving the Department’s services and
providing the system with statistical information to assist in improving
teaching and learning by teachers and students respectively.
otherwise provided in this Internet Acceptable Use Policy, the Department
of its users. Personal identifying information includes, but is not
limited to, names, home addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone
As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”), the
Department will monitor students’ online activities. Such monitoring
may lead to discovery that the user has violated or may be violating, the
Department Internet Acceptable Use Policy, the student disciplinary code,
or the law. The Department also reserves the right to monitor other
users (e.g., non students) online activities.
The Department reserves the right to employ and review the results of
software that searches, monitors and/or identifies potential violations of
the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
Users should be aware that their personal files may be discoverable in
court and administrative proceedings and in accordance with public records
System users have no privacy expectation in the contents of their personal
files and records of their online activity while on the Department
Freedom of Expression
policies on Freedom of Expression, as set forth in the Bill of Student
Rights and Responsibilities will govern the use of the Internet.
Nothing in this policy shall affect any existing or future policy on free
Selection of Material
using the Internet for class activities, teachers should:
Select material that is appropriate in light of the age of the students
and that is relevant to the course objectives.
Preview the materials and sites they require students to access to
determine the appropriateness of the material contained on or accessed
through the site.
Provide guidelines and lists of resources to assist their students in
channeling their research activities effectively and properly.
Assist their students in developing the skills to ascertain the
truthfulness of information, distinguish fact from opinion, and engage in
discussions about controversial issues while demonstrating tolerance and
respect for those who hold divergent views.
Parental Notification and Responsibility
As appropriate, the Department will provide students and parents with
guidelines and instructions for student safety while using the Internet.
Internet Acceptable Use Policy contains restrictions on accessing
inappropriate material and student use generally will be supervised.
However, there is a wide range of material available on the Internet, some
of which may or may not fit the particular values of the students. It is
not practically possible for the Department to monitor and enforce a wide
range of social values in student use of the Internet. Further, the
Department recognizes that parents bear primary responsibility for
transmitting their particular set of family values to their children. The
Department will encourage parents to specify to their child(ren) what
material is and is not acceptable for their child(ren) to access through
the Department system.
If the Department provides home Internet access, parents are exclusively
responsible for monitoring their own and their child(ren)'s use of the
Internet if they access the system from home. Filtering may or may
not be employed to screen home access to the Internet. Parents should
inquire with the school or district.
Students: Students may be provided with Internet access and may have
dial-up access to the system from home. There is no central
Department policy requiring a district or school to enter into a written
agreement to provide a student such access. On the other hand, for
educational reasons, a district may decide to create a written agreement
or “compact” with parents that embodies the terms and responsibilities of
the student, parent and school in detail. However, the written
agreement may not permit any Internet or e-mail activity prohibited by
this Internet Acceptable Use Policy, and it may not prohibit any such
activity permitted by this Policy.
Department Employees: Department employees may be provided with Internet
accounts and may have dial-up access to the system. No written
agreement will be required.
Limitations on Internet Usage
Personal Safety Violations For Students
Student users will not post or transmit photographs or personal contact
information about themselves or other people without prior written
parental consent from the parent of the student whose information is being
posted. Such consent must be delivered to the child’s teacher or
principal. Personal contact information includes, but is not limited
to, home address, telephone number, school name, school address and
Student users will not agree to meet with someone they have met online
without their parent's approval and participation.
Student users will promptly disclose to their teacher or other school
employee any message they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel
Users shall not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the Department
system or to any other computer system through the Department system, or
go beyond their authorized access. This prohibition includes intentionally
seeking information about passwords belonging to other users, modifying
passwords belonging to other users, or attempting to log in through
another person's account. Further, users may not attempt to access,
copy, or modify another user’s files. These actions are not permitted and
may be illegal, even if only for the purposes of "browsing.”
Users shall not attempt to subvert network security, impair the
functionality of the network or bypass restrictions set by network
administrators. Users are also prohibited from destroying data by
spreading computer viruses or vandalizing data, software or equipment.
Users shall not use the Department system to engage in any other illegal
act, such as arranging for a drug sale, purchasing alcohol for a minor,
engaging in criminal gang activity, threatening the safety of a person,
System Security Violations
Users are responsible for the use of their individual account if
applicable and should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others
from being able to use their account. Under no conditions should a user
provide their password to another person, except that supervisors and/or
teachers may require users to provide their passwords.
Student users will immediately notify a teacher if they identify a
possible security problem (such as disclosure of their password to another
person) and other users will immediately notify the system administrator.
No users will go looking for security problems, because this may be
construed as an illegal attempt to gain access.
Every school must install and maintain anti-virus software on each
workstation. Updates, typically referred to as "virus definitions,"
should be updated as the manufacturer recommends.
Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to public messages,
private messages, and material posted on Web pages.
Users will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory,
threatening, abusive or disrespectful language.
Users will not post information that could interfere with the educational
process or cause a danger of disruption in the educational environment.
Users will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or
Users will not harass another person. Harassment is persistently acting in
a manner that distresses or annoys another person. If a user is told by a
person to stop sending them messages, they must stop. However,
nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit supervisory use of e-mail in
connection with Department activities and employment.
Users will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory
information about a person or organization.
Users should not repost a message that was sent to them privately without
permission of the person who sent them the message.
Users should not post private information about another person.
Respecting Resource Limits.
Users will use the system only for educational and professional
activities. Staff may not use the Internet for personal use
during working hours, except that they may engage in incidental use during
their duty-free time (e.g., staff may be permitted to use the Internet for
purchasing a book for personal use during their lunch hour, but may not
operate a business or engage in any profit-making activity at any
Users will not download large files unless absolutely necessary. If
necessary, users will download the file at a time when the system is not
being heavily used and immediately remove the file from the system
computer to their personal computer or diskette.
Users will not post chain letters or engage in "spamming.” Spamming
is sending an annoying or unsolicited message to many people, except that
an unsolicited message sent by a supervisor, relating to work activity
does not constitute spamming.
Users will check their e-mail frequently and delete unwanted messages
promptly. Users will limit the size of their mailboxes to a
district-identified storage limit. The system will notify users when
they are approaching the limit and users will not be able to send e-mail
once they have exceeded a defined limit, currently 30 megabytes. However,
users may still be able to receive and view e-mail upon exceeding the
Users will not send e-mail containing commercial links unless the link is
predominantly instructional in nature (as described in Section 8, B, ii, d
of this policy).
Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
Users will not plagiarize works that they find on the Internet. Plagiarism
is taking the ideas or writings of others and presenting them as if they
were original to the user.
Users will respect the rights of copyright owners and not infringe on
those rights. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual
inappropriately reproduces a work that is protected by a copyright. If a
work contains language that specifies acceptable use of that work, the
user should follow the expressed requirements. If the user is unsure
whether or not they can use a work, they should request permission from
the copyright owner.
Access to Inappropriate Material
Users will not use the Department system to access material that is
profane or obscene (e.g., pornography), that advocates illegal or
dangerous acts, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other
people (e.g., hate literature). For students, a special exception may be
made if the purpose is to conduct research and is approved in writing by
both the teacher and the parent. Department employees may access the above
material only in the context of legitimate research expressly approved in
writing by the employee's supervisor.
If users inadvertently access such information, they should immediately
disclose the inadvertent access in a manner specified by their school or
central division office. This will protect users against an allegation
that they have intentionally violated the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
Users will not use the Internet for advertising, promotion, commercial
purposes or similar objectives, except that employees may make personal
purchases online during their duty-free (e.g., lunch) time.
Users will not use the Internet to conduct for-profit business activities
or to engage in religious activities. Users are also prohibited from
engaging in any non-governmental-related fund raising or public relations
activities such as solicitation for religious purposes, lobbying for
political purposes, or soliciting votes. The Department is not
responsible for this or any other commercial activity users engage in.
Web Pages: The Department’s Web page policy is as follows:
school must obtain written parental consent prior to the disclosure of
student information or student work on any Department Web page.
Student information includes name, address, school name, grade, class,
photograph, writing or other creative work, or any other student
Web Page Requirements
The provisions of this Internet Acceptable Use Policy will govern material
placed on the Web.
Web Pages shall not:
Contain personal contact information about students beyond that permitted
by the school, district and parent.
Display photographs, videos or other images of any identifiable
individual, other than a historical or public figure, without a signed
release. Releases for students under the age of 18 must be signed by
their parent or lawful guardian.
Contain copyrighted or trademarked material belonging to others unless
written permission to display such material has been obtained from the
owner. There will be no assumption that the publication of copyrighted
material on a web site is within the fair use exemption.
Contain web links to or advertisements for profit-making entities, such as
publishers or other consumer goods purveyors, unless the site being linked
to is predominantly instructional in nature (such as museum sites,
encyclopedias, national parks, aquariums, literary organizations,
etc.). Notwithstanding the forgoing, districts and schools may not
directly benefit financially from any such entities linked to on their web
Display for promotional purposes, the logo or other commercial insignia of
the vendor that created the web page.
Material placed on the web site is expected to meet academic standards of
proper spelling, grammar and accuracy of information.
student may have a copyright interest in material he or she has created
and places on a web page covered by this Policy. Placing the
material on the web page will not transfer the copyright interest to the
Department. But students and parents should be aware that placing
material on a web page may affect a copyright interest by giving other
users access to the material. A Department employee will not have a
copyright interest in material he or she has created and places on a web
page covered by this Policy.
web pages should include a notice that the web page may contain
copyrighted material and that visitors may not download any such material
without the prior consent and approval of the copyright owner.
All Web pages should have a link at the bottom of the page that will help
users find their way to the appropriate home page.
Users should retain a back-up copy of their Web pages.
Each district and each school may host one (1) web site on official New
York City Department of Education web servers, but this is not a
requirement. However, all district, school, teacher, staff, student,
extracurricular organization and central office web sites not hosted
by the Department may do so only if they register with the Department's
Division of Instructional and Information Technology (DIIT). This
ensures that in the event of hacking or any other violations of this
policy that come to the Department's attention, DIIT can contact the
appropriate parties. This requirement will also make it possible for
Office of Legal Services to review the contracts between the
district/school and the third party vendors that provide the hosting
service to ensure that such contracts comply with the terms set forth in
District and Superintendent (“District(s)”) Web Pages
Material appropriate for placement on the District web pages includes:
District information, school information, teacher or class information,
student projects, and student extracurricular organization
information. Personal, non-educationally-related information should
not be allowed on District web pages.
District Superintendents will designate a District Web Publisher,
responsible for maintaining the official District web page and monitoring
all District web activity. The Web Publisher will develop style and
content guidelines for official District and school web page materials in
accordance with the Division of Instructional and Information Technology
(DIIT)/Office of Web Services (OWS) Policy, Procedures and
Guidelines. The Web Publisher will also develop procedures for the
placement and removal of such material. All official District and school
material originating from the District posted on the District or a school
Web page must be approved through a process established by the District
Web Publisher. The District’s procedures may require approval of
school web page material at either the district or school level.
School Web Pages
building principal will designate a School Web Publisher, responsible for
managing the school Web page and monitoring class, teacher, student, and
extracurricular web pages subject to district procedures. All
official material originating from the school must be consistent with the
style and content guidelines developed by the School Web Publisher and
approved through a process established by the School Web Publisher. The
school Web Publisher will develop additional guidelines for the school Web
page in accordance with DIIT/OWS Policy, Procedures and Guidelines.
Teacher Web Pages
district-wide policies and procedures, teachers may establish Web pages
for use with class activities or to provide a resource for other
teachers. Teachers will be responsible for maintaining their class
or educational resource sites. Teacher web pages will not be considered
official material, but will be developed in such a manner as to reflect
well upon the Department, district and school.
Other Staff Web Pages
district-wide policies and procedures, staff may develop web pages that
provide a resource for others. Staff will be responsible for
maintaining their resource sites. Staff web pages will not be considered
official material, but will be developed in a manner as to reflect well
upon the Department, district and school.
Student Web Pages
Subject to district-wide policies and procedures, students may create a
web site as part of a class activity. Material presented on a student
class activity web site must meet the educational objectives of the class
Subject to District procedures and with the approval of the building
principal or Web Publisher, students may establish personal web pages.
Material presented in the student's personal web page must be related to
the student's educational and career preparation activities.
The District has the right to exercise control over the content and/or
style of student web pages so long as its actions are reasonably related
to legitimate pedagogical concerns. Requiring removal of material that
fails to meet established educational objectives or that is in violation
of a provision of the Internet Acceptable Use Policy or student
disciplinary code will not be considered a violation of a student's right
to free speech under the Student Bill of Rights. However, student material
may not be removed on the basis of disagreement with the views expressed
by the student.
Student Web pages must include the following notice: “This is a student
Web page. Opinions expressed on this page shall not be attributed to the
New York City Department of Education or the student's school.”
Schools have the right to remove student web pages at the end of each
Extracurricular Organization Web Pages
With the approval of the building principal, extracurricular organizations
may establish web pages. Material presented on the organization web
page must relate specifically to organization activities. The
Department has the right to exercise control over the content and/or style
of organization web pages so long as its actions are reasonably related to
legitimate pedagogical concerns.
Extracurricular organization web pages must include the
notice: "This is a student extracurricular organization web page. Opinions
expressed on this page shall not be attributed to the New York City
Department of Education.”
Office Web Pages
Central offices may establish web pages but material posted on the central
office web page must relate specifically to the office’s services. The
style and content of any central office web page must be consistent with
the Department’s Division of Instructional and Information Technology
(“DIIT”)/Office of Internet Management Services (“IMS”) Policy, Procedures