MORA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
Office of the Superintendent
Adopted: April 18, 2017
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
PARENTS PLEASE KEEP PAGES 1-5 FOR YOUR RECORDS AND LEAVE SIGNATURE PAGE FOR SCHOOL RECORDS.
Today’s learners and educators spend a large portion of their online time using Social Media. While Social Media exists for both educational and social purposes, these two purposes are not mutually exclusive. Social media has potential for use both as part of the School District’s educational mission and for business purposes. However, Social Media must be used appropriately and within established limits set by the Board of Education when School District resources are being used to access Social Media sites, or when student and educator use of Social Media affects School District operations. A Social Media blunder may present a critical problem with the potential to cause injury, both physical and psychological to students, employees, guests, and others. Additionally, misuse of Mora Social Media has the potential to cause the loss of confidential information and data, disrupt normal educational and business operations and/or programs, and may subject the User or the School District to litigation.
A variety of mobile electronic devices, portable or stationary computers, and School District networks and systems, as well as Users’ networks, systems, computers, and devices have been made available for (or provided for) Users to carry out social media activities related to the School District’s educational and organizational mission. The purpose of the Mora Independent School District Social Media Policy is to establish rules and guidance for the use of social media by students, employees, and guests (collectively “Users”).
Guests – include, but are not limited to, visitors, workshop attendees, volunteers, adult education staff and students, school board members, independent contractors, vendors, parents and School District consultants.
Social Media – Social media is utilized by various electronic means, for example, through text messages, instant messages, chat rooms, and email by using personal accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail on personally acquired services, systems, and networks, and/or through text messages, instant messages, and email by using School District accounts on School District services, systems, and networks. Personal digital assistants, cell phones, smartphones, computers, tablets and other devices can be used to engage in social media communications. Chat services, such as G-Chat, Blackberry Messenger, iChat, and FaceTime can be utilized as well. Additional social media may be developed in the future that would likely be covered by this Policy. The term “social media” also includes websites that incorporate one or more of the following:
Blogs –electronic or Internet based logs or journals where authors and users can post text, audio, or video content, and where some permit others to post comments on their blogs. Some websites enable individuals to create free standing blogs; other special interest websites use blog tools and message forums to engage users.
Microblogs –websites and spaces that allow users to post short blog entries. Twitter is an example, as well as other sites that invite users to post short status and location updates, such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumbler and Foursquare.
Social networks –websites where users can create customized profiles and form connections with other users based on shared characteristics and interests. Web services, such as Facebook, tend to foster personal or social contact among “friends”, while LinkedIn is oriented toward professional networking. School Districts and individual schools within Districts, as well as school athletic teams, booster clubs, Parent Teacher Organizations, etc. have developed a presence on social networks in order to interact with the public.
Media sharing –websites where users post and share videos, audio files and/or photos as well as tag them to enable search-ability. Examples include YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, and Google Video.
Wikis –resources or documents edited collaboratively by a community of users with varying levels of editorial control by website publisher. Example: Wikipedia.
Virtual worlds – Web or software-based platforms that allow users to create avatars or representations of themselves, and through these avatars to meet, socialize, transact and communicate with other users. Second Life and other virtual worlds are used for social purposes and e-commerce, non-profit fundraising, and videoconferencing.
Social media - communication, collaborative sharing, and reaching students, employees and guests for educational purposes using Mora School District provided networks, websites, platforms, resources, or documents. Examples include, but are not limited to, Google Apps, Ning, Teacher Tube, Moodle, and Gaggle.
The Mora Independent School District has the right, but no duty, to inspect, review, or retain electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on and over the School District’s network systems and to monitor, record, check, track, log, access or otherwise inspect its network systems.
In addition, in accordance with the law, the School District has the right, but no duty, to inspect, review, or retain electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on a User’s personal computers, electronic devices, networks, internet, electronic communication systems, and in databases, files, software, and media that contain School District information and data.
Also, in accordance with the law, the School District has the right, but no duty, to inspect, review, or retain electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on another entity’s computer or electronic device when Users bring and use another entity’s computer or electronic device to a School District location, event, or connect it to the School District network and/or systems, and/or that contains School District programs, or School District data or information.
The above applies no matter where the use occurs whether brought onto School District property, to School District events, or connected to the School District network, or when using mobile computing equipment and telecommunications facilities in protected and unprotected areas or environments, directly from home, or indirectly through another Social Media or Internet service provider, as well as by other means. All School District actions will be conducted in accordance with the law, assist in the protection of the School District’s resources, insure compliance with this Policy, its administrative regulations, and/or other applicable School District policies, regulations, rules, and procedures, social media and Internet service provider’s terms, and local, state, and federal laws.
The School District will cooperate, to the extent legally required, with social media sites, Internet service providers, as well as local, state, and federal officials in investigations or with other legal requests, whether in connection with criminal or civil actions involving students, guest, employees and/or other users.
IV. DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
Users must immediately report any violations or suspicious activities to the Superintendent, and/or a designee including the District IT Director. Conduct otherwise will result in actions further described in the Consequences for Inappropriate, Unauthorized and Illegal Use, section VI of this Policy, and provided in other relevant School District policies, rules and procedures. If a User is unclear on the restrictions for use, that User must request clarification from a supervisor, teacher, or administrator.
It is the responsibility of all Users to carefully consider the potential consequences of their behavior or any information shared online when communicating with or “friending” another individual. The Technology Director, or designee, is authorized to access Users’ postings to public locations and to School District servers, hard drives, systems, and networks under the direction of the Superintendent, and/or designee, law enforcement, a court order, a subpoena or other legal action or authority. Users may not coerce others into providing passwords, login, or other security access codes, passwords or information so that they may access social media or locations that they are not authorized to access. Users should note that information that they place in social media and designate as private may be accessed in litigation, can be distributed by their friends, and can be accessed in other various legal ways.
The Superintendent, and/or designee, is hereby granted the authority to create additional procedures and rules to carry out the purposes of this Social Media Policy. The procedures and rules accompanying this Policy must include, among other items, guidance in implementing and using School District educational social media and commercial social media, and the responsibility of Users for their own behavior when communicating through social media.
The School District regularly accesses User accounts in order to perform routine maintenance and for other legitimate reasons. System administrators have the right to access User accounts by interception, and to access the stored communication of User accounts for any reason in order to uphold this Policy, the law, and maintenance of the system. USERS SHOULD HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN ANYTHING THEY CREATE, STORE, SEND, RECEIVE, OR DISPLAY ON OR OVER THE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S NETWORK SYSTEMS, AND/OR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S AUTHORIZED THIRD PARTIES’ SYSTEMS, INCLUDING PERSONAL FILES OR ANY OTHER USES OF THESE SYSTEMS. The School District reserves the right to access, view, record, check, receive, monitor, track, log, store, and otherwise inspect and utilize any or all network systems, as well as authorized third parties’ systems, and to monitor and allocate fileserver space. Users of the School District’s network systems, and third party systems, who transmit or receive communications and information shall be deemed to have consented to the content of all communications transmitted via School District technology and systems to be accessed, viewed, recorded, checked, received, monitored, tracked, logged, stored, and otherwise inspected or utilized by the School District, and to monitor and allocate fileserver space. Passwords and message and browsing history delete functions do not restrict the School District’s ability or right to access such communications or information.
Users are responsible for their own behavior when communicating within social media. They will be held accountable for the content of the communications that they state/post on social media locations. Users are responsible for complying with the School District’s employee, student, and guest conduct requirements, as well as student and employee handbooks and all Board of Education policies. Users may not disrupt the learning atmosphere, educational programs, school activities, and the rights of others.
Inappropriate communications may not be included in Users social media communications, duties or posts. Inappropriate communications include, but are not limited to (i) confidential, personally identifiable, and sensitive School District information about students, employees, and guests; (ii) child pornography, sexual exploitation, bullying/cyberbullying, inappropriate commercialization of childhood experiences, (iii) defamatory or discriminatory statements and images, (iv) proprietary information of the School District and/or a School District’s vendor, (v) infringing upon intellectual property, such as copyright ownership, and circumventing technology protection measures (viii) terroristic threats, and (ix) illegal items and activities.
Users may not use their personal computers, devices, services, systems, and networks during the time they are required to be fulfilling their work, learning, school responsibilities, or volunteer requirements. Users may not use commercial social media during their work, school, and volunteer responsibilities unless approval has been granted by the Superintendent or an administrator.
Where Users place their communication in “privacy” marked social media, they cannot expect that their information will not be disclosed by a person within their “private marked group”. Such information may be disclosed by others within the “private group”, or the information may be discovered as part of the discovery process in litigation, or it may be disclosed by other means. The School District may be provided this information and be required to investigate it further. Information that the School District obtains from other legitimate sources may be disclosed without limitation for purposes of investigation, litigation, internal dispute resolution, and legitimate business purposes regardless of whether the particular User is involved.
Information that a User deleted may be recovered indefinitely by the School District by available technological means.
The Superintendent, or designee, must provide training for employees and instructional sessions for students and, if appropriate, for guests to assist them in knowing how to appropriately use social media, how to comply with the requirements of this Policy, and District procedures and rules and why these rules are critically important.
A User who has a material connection with the School District and endorses a School District product or service may have an obligation to disclose that relationship when the User makes such a statement using social media. The User should contact the Superintendent, and/or designee, to assess the various factors applicable to determining whether disclosure is required.
Users may not use the name of the “Mora Independent School District” or its logo or identity in any form in social media, on School District internet pages or websites, on websites not owned or related to the School District, or in forums/discussion boards, to express or imply the official position of the School District without the express, written permission of the Superintendent, and/or designee. When such permission is granted, the posting must state that the statement does not represent the position of the School District. Further, Users may not imply, whether intentionally or unintentionally, that the communication has come from or been approved by School District authorities.
Students will adhere to the following guidelines:
Students will not promote illegal drugs, illegal activities, violence, and/or drinking through social media.
Students must not make threats against school personnel or other students, even in jest. These threats will be taken seriously by School District officials.
Students should state/post only what they want the entire world to see. Imagine your parents, the teachers, and the administrators viewing your social media posts. Once something is shared via social media, it is likely to be available even after it is removed from the social media. Users should expect communication and images transmitted via social media to remain on the Internet, and/or in the Cloud, permanently. Users will be held accountable for these communications, even if they attempted to delete them.
Students should be cautious when they use exaggeration, colorful language, guesswork, derogatory remarks, humor, and characterizations. It is difficult for readers to determine the seriousness of the statements/posts. Students will be held accountable not for their intended expressions, but way these communications are received by others.
Students should run updated malware protection to avoid spyware, adware, spiders, bots, crawlers and other infections that may be placed on their social media and computer to obtain personal information, breach security, and cause technology problems, which interfere with School District operations. Students will comply with any and all reasonable directives issued by the School District’s Information Technology Department.
Students should become and remain informed and cautious about emerging problems in the use of social media. Students will take affirmative action to protect themselves and School District equipment and systems from threats inherent in the use of social media.
Students will comply with the rules that have been established for the School District’s educational social media.
The School District reserves the right to determine if any of these guidelines constitutes acceptable or unacceptable use of social media, given the circumstances.
VI. CONSEQUENCES FOR INAPPROPRIATE, UNAUTHORIZED AND ILLEGAL USE
In addition to the stipulations of this Policy, the School District’s Student and Employee handbooks apply to behavior, ethics, and communications when using social networking systems and information, Users must be aware that violations of this Policy, other School District policies, regulations, rules or procedures, or statutes, regulations and/or laws and/or unlawful use of social media systems and information may result in loss of access to the system and equipment, in addition to all other applicable disciplinary actions. These actions include, but are not limited to, warnings, restrictions on use, loss of privileges, position reassignment, oral or written reprimands, student suspensions, removal from classes requiring technology with a failing grade, employee suspensions (with or without pay for employees), dismissal, expulsions, breach of contract, penalties provided in statutes, regulations, and other laws and/or legal proceedings on a case-by-case basis. Claims of privacy rights violations or defamatory conduct may be made by the victim or target of an attack or through the intentional or negligent release of information via social media and/or the inappropriate use thereof. This Policy incorporates all other relevant School District policies, including, but not limited to, the student and professional employee discipline policies, Code of Student Conduct, Acceptable Use Policy, and guidelines, and curriculum, vendor access, harassment, and discrimination policies.