Sec. 126-41-5 - Accountability and Responsibility

§ 126-41-5. Accountability and Responsibility

5.1. The acceptable and appropriate use of telecommunications and/or access to the Internet and digital resources is an extension of the educator's responsibility in his/her classroom. Educators occupy a position of trust and stand in the place of a parent or guardian while a student is in school, W. Va. Code § 18A-5-1(a). Therefore, it is the educator's responsibility to ensure classroom activities focus on appropriate and specific learning goals and objectives for personalized learning when using Internet-related technologies. Student use of Internet-related or web-based applications must be authorized by the educator and parent or guardian through a district determined procedure. It is also the educator's responsibility to refrain from using electronic technologies in a manner that risks placing him/her in a position to abuse that trust. Even though "educators" are the ones who come in daily classroom contact with students, acceptable/appropriate uses of online resources, technologies and the Internet is a responsibility of all educational staff and employees.

5.2. The following statements delineate the responsibilities of the WVBE, WVDE, districts, individual schools, educators and other educational/service personnel for the appropriate and authorized use of technologies, digital resources and the Internet.

5.3. WVBE responsibilities, based on authority of W. Va. Code, will include approving policies advocating the following activities:

5.3.a. Students will be provided equitable access to technology.

5.3.b. Students will graduate from the public schools with proficiency in the skills and standards delineated in instructional policies.

5.3.c. Policy 2520.14 content standards will be included as part of the instructional goals of all programs of study and at all grade levels, K-12.

5.3.d. The WVBE will collaborate with the higher education community to communicate complementary technology utilization initiatives and partnerships and readiness of student teachers in understanding the professional role of the educator and the position of trust.

5.3.e. Administrators and teachers will be provided professional development in the use and application of electronic resources, technologies and the Internet.

5.4. WVDE responsibilities will include carrying out the policies of the WVBE, and include the following tasks/duties:

5.4.a. The WVDE provides the network system, e-mail accounts, and Internet access as tools for education and administration in support of the WVBE's mission and goals. The WVDE will review and process appropriate applications for domain names for local servers.

5.4.b. The WVDE reserves the right to monitor, inspect, investigate, copy, review, and store, without prior notice, information about the content and usage of any network and system files, user files, disk space utilization, applications, bandwidth utilization, document files, folders, electronic communications, e-mail, Internet access, and any and all information transmitted or received in connection with networks, e-mail use, and web-based tools.

5.4.c. The WVDE and approved service providers will support local, state, and federal investigations as required by law. The WVDE reserves the right to disclose any electronic message, files, media, etc., to law enforcement officials or third parties as appropriate.

5.4.d. The State Superintendent of Schools, WVDE staff, and district staff system administrators, using this document as a guide, are the final arbiters of acceptable and safe use of electronic resources, technologies, and the Internet.

5.4.e. The WVDE reserves the right to enter an employee's information system files whenever there is a business need to do so.

5.4.f. Electronic filtering will be installed by the WVDE at the two points of presence (POPs) for Internet access. This will provide filtering for all public schools in a cost effective manner and with efficient management. Providing this service at the state level enables districts/schools to meet Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and E-rateguideline requirements for filtering.

5.4.g. The WVDE will provide guidance and support for appropriate instruction by which districts/schools certify compliance with current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations regarding Internet safety policies. Districts must provide for educating students about appropriate online behavior, including digital citizenship, interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and other digital communication platforms rooms, and cyber bullying awareness and response. Further, the WVDE will provide support for certifying that students have been educated about appropriate online behavior as well as support federal reporting when districts provide evidence they have met the annual E-rate compliance requirements of educating students regarding appropriate use. The districts and schools are encouraged to go beyond this basic compliance.

5.4.h. The WVDE will not be responsible for unauthorized financial obligations resulting from the use of, or access to, the state's computer network or the Internet.

5.4.i. The WVDE makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service being provided. The WVDE will not be responsible for any damages, including loss of data or service interruptions. The use of any information obtained via the system is at the user's own risk.

5.4.j. The WVDE will provide appropriate telecommunications assistance, West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS) support and other services addressed in state policies and statutes.

5.5. District responsibilities:

5.5.a. All districts shall have a district technology team and an annual comprehensive strategic technology plan. In addition to the district technology director/contact, it is recommended the technology team include representatives from areas of instruction, finance, facilities, personnel and others as designated by the district.

5.5.b. Electronic storage of educational material should comply with local guidelines and section 4.4.a.6 of this procedure.

5.5.c. Districts shall, whenever possible, make available facilities and technology to accommodate distance learning and access to virtual courses provided through the West Virginia Virtual School (WVVS) or approved course providers.

5.5.d. Districts may provide students (including those enrolled in adult basic education), teachers, parents, and citizens access to technology in the public schools during non-school hours and in accordance with E-rate guidelines and network security best practices.

5.5.e. Districts shall provide professional development in the use of technology and its application in the teaching and learning process.

5.5.f. Districts shall implement appropriate policies to help ensure the safety of the students and acceptable use of electronic resources, technologies and the Internet. Districts are encouraged to define a student code of conduct or set of responsibilities to include in acceptable use policies. The WVDE strongly recommends student and teacher Acceptable Use Policies be reviewed and accepted annually by users and/or guardians.

5.5.g. Districts shall provide adequate technology personnel to implement appropriate policies and manage district/school networks to help ensure the safety of students and acceptable use of electronic resources, technologies and the Internet.

5.5.h. In accordance with W. Va. Code, school aid formula and local funding opportunities, districts shall provide support for schools to employ Technology Integration Specialists (TIS) and Technology Systems Specialist (TSS). The role of the TIS is to implement and aid educators with technology integration and fluency. The role of the TSS is to manage/repair school local area networks and connected devices. Employment of adequate technology personnel at each school is important to ensure the safety of students and acceptable use of electronic resources, technologies, and the Internet; to implement school policies through technology integration/fluency; and to manage/repair school local area networks, software and hardware.

5.5.i. The use and administration of a network server for Internet connection within a district or school is the responsibility of the designated/approved educator(s) and administrator(s) at the location of the server. It is their responsibility to ensure that all activities and/or functions of the server involve appropriate school activities. All administrative functions and/or file maintenance, including but not limited to service patches, updates, and malware detection software, to the server are the responsibility of the designated/approved educator/administrator serving that location.

5.5.j. All remote access to servers located at a district or school building and connected to a wide area network and/or the Internet is the responsibility of the administrator(s) and/or educator(s) identified as responsible for the servers. Remote access of any kind is to be used only when specific educational goals have been identified and is not to be in direct competition with local Internet service providers. Additionally, remote access to servers must be in accordance with federal, state and local guidelines for appropriate Internet access.

5.5.k. Server administrators or technical contacts requesting domain names for local servers must apply to the WVDE through an application process. Those receiving a domain name must follow all guidelines detailed as part of the application process, including the adoption of a current safety and acceptable use policy.

5.5.l. The WVDE and approved service provider(s) can support only the e-mail accounts administered by the WVDE and approved provider(s). E-mail accounts not provided or approved by the WVDE should not be used for school/educational purposes. All liability for e-mail accounts not provided or approved by the WVDE lies with the administrator(s) and/or educator(s) responsible for student utilization of alternative accounts or the administrator(s) and/or educator(s) identified as responsible for the server being used.

5.5.m. Districts, schools, educators, and staff may publish student pictures, video images or names on class, school or district web sites and social media only when such elements are designated by district policy as directory information in accordance with FERPA and Policy 4350. Parental consent/permission should be obtained (e.g., through photo release forms). Schools and districts should develop local policies regarding online publishing of student information that applies to staff, students, and volunteers.

5.5.n. Districts and schools subject to CIPA may not receive E-rate discounts without certifying they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. The WVDE provides protective measures for filtering of Internet access to content that is:

(a) obscene;

(b) child pornography; or

(c) harmful to minors. Districts may choose to provide additional levels of protection.

5.5.o. Before adopting an Internet safety policy, districts and schools must provide reasonable notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the acceptable use policy.

5.5.p. Districts and schools are subject to CIPA and are required to adopt and implement an Internet safety policy pursuant to federal law (47 U.S.C. 254).

5.5.q. District Internet safety policies must include the monitoring and filtering of the online activities of all users. Internet safety policies must provide for educating all users about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyber bullying awareness and response. Pursuant to section 5.4.g. WVDE will provide guidance for such activities.

5.5.r. District/school equipment is subject to existing rules and policies whether onsite or offsite.

5.5.s. Students and staff are expected to use state, district, and school-owned technology in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner in accordance with the educational mission of the state, district, and school. The use of such technologies may be restricted or revoked for inappropriate behavior or use.

5.5.t. Students and staff are encouraged to use district and school equipment whenever possible. Districts may permit the use of personal devices (e.g. cell phones, smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, MP3 players, and laptops) pursuant to local policies and guidelines. Unauthorized or unacceptable use of personal technology devices may result in suspension or revocation of personal device privileges. These uses include, but are not limited to, the following:

5.5.t.1. Using personal devices to gain or give an advantage in a testing situation.

5.5.t.2. Using unapproved personal devices during class.

5.5.t.3. Downloading and installing district licensed software on personal devices unless specifically allowed by the licensing agreement.

5.5.t.4. Using personal devices to bypass filtering, circumvent network security, or in violation of the acceptable use standards which normally apply to district-owned technology.

5.5.t.5. Using personal devices for violations related to cyber bullying and harassment.

5.5.u. Districts/schools should provide professional development for staff and classroom instruction for students regarding the compliance of copyright laws. (See § 126-41-9 of this procedure.)

5.6. School responsibilities:

5.6.a. To the extent practicable and as funds and other resources are available, schools should foster the use of school facilities for the purpose of accessing technology, by students, teachers, parents and citizens during non-school hours and in accordance with E-rate guidelines and network security best practices.

5.6.b. Every school shall have a school technology team and a comprehensive technology plan. Schools may choose to have the Local School Improvement Council (LSIC), the faculty senate, or the curriculum team serve as the technology team.

5.6.c. Schools must follow the guidelines of CIPA and the Children's Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) federal statutes.

5.6.d. Schools shall provide the necessary professional development to enable teachers to incorporate technology into the classroom.

5.6.e. It is the responsibility of the student, parent, teacher, and administrator to follow acceptable use policies, as well as state and federal laws, so that access to telecommunication networks, computers and the Internet provided by the school, district, and state educational systems is not abused.

5.6.f. Schools must enforce the use of filtering or electronic technical protection measures during any use of the computers/devices to access the Internet. Encryption is required of all wireless access points.

5.7. Educator, service personnel and staff responsibilities:

5.7.a. All educators, service personnel, and staff are expected to maintain appropriate boundaries between personal social networking and professional/educational networking to protect the safety of students and professional integrity. For the protection of students and employees, it is recommended that any adult communication with students occur either via one-way communication applications or district sponsored applications, or that communication occur directly with parents. District policies may specifically designate the methods of electronic communication that are acceptable for use by educators, service personnel and staff to use when communication with students is necessary.

5.7.b. In order to assist in maintaining professional relationships with students and to avoid situations that could lead to inappropriate relationships between adults and students, the following regulations apply to all adults who have contact with students due to their work on behalf of an education agency. Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in disciplinary action and/or loss of licensure:

5.7.b.1. Adults will maintain professional, ethical relationships with all students, both inside and outside the classroom and while using any form of social media and other electronic communication. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to committing any act of harassment as defined by WVBE and/or district policy; committing or soliciting any sexual act from any minor or any student regardless of age; soliciting, encouraging, or consummating a romantic or inappropriate relationship with a student, regardless of the age of the student; using inappropriate language including, but not limited to, swearing and improper sexual comments; taking inappropriate pictures (digital, photographic or video) of students or exchanging any inappropriate pictures with students; or engaging in any other behaviour that constitutes a violation of district or county policy or that is detrimental to the health and welfare of students.

5.7.b.2. The viewing, storing, transmitting, or downloading of pornography or sexually suggestive or sexually explicit material or text on a work provided computer or other work provided electronic storage or communication device or service, whether at home or at work, by school personnel or anyone else to whom the school personnel has made the computer or other electronic storage or communication device available, is prohibited. This same prohibition applies to a personal computer or other electronic storage or communication device while at school or a school activity.

5.7.b.3. All information stored within work computers or servers is the property of the state, district or school, and the personnel using such computers/servers/networks have no expectation of privacy with respect to its contents.

5.7.c. Educators will promote and model acceptable use, digital citizenship and online responsibility to support personalized learning and digital-age assessments to meet applicable educational learning policies, for all students.

5.7.d. Teachers, specialists, and other supervising adults will teach and discuss the appropriate use of electronic resources, technologies and the Internet with their students, monitor their use, and intervene if the uses are not acceptable.

5.7.e. School personnel who receive information via any electronic resource, including a social networking site, that falls under the mandatory reporting requirements of W. Va. Code § 49-2-803, must report as law requires.

5.7.f. Staff members shall not use materials in violation of copyright law or contrary to terms of use provided by the owner of the materials. WVDE assumes no liability for local violations of copyright law.

5.7.g. School personnel are responsible for protecting their passwords associated with their computers and e-mail address and must not make them accessible to others.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.