• Technology and Instruction: Acceptable Use of the Computer Network

    The Internet is a global electronic information infrastructure. It is a network of networks used by educators, business, government, the military, organizations and private individuals. In school and libraries, the Internet can be used to educate, inform, communicate and entertain. As a teaming resource, the Internet is similar to books, magazines, video, CD-ROM and other information sources.

    The Board of Trustees is aware that the Internet is an unregulated communication environment in which information changes constantly and that some of this information is inappropriate for users, based on age and/or developmental levels.

    The Board and its staff will take an active role in ensuring that students and their parents are aware of the responsibility required in using the Internet in an ethical and educational manner. The Board's goal is to provide "users”, anyone who has access to the computer network of The Woodstock Academy, with the understanding and skills needed to use the Internet appropriately to ensure educational learning.

    In order to ensure that The Academy Internet connection is used in the appropriate manner and that all users are protected from any inappropriate information published on the Internet, The Academy has and is continuing to implement a system developed to filter out Internet sites with content considered unacceptable for student viewing. The Head of School is directed to establish guidelines and procedures for responsible use of computers, computer systems, software, electronic access privileges, and networks provided by The Academy. Appeals will be referred to the Head of School or his/her designee.

    The purpose of the following policy and regulations is to establish the rights, responsibilities, etiquette and privacy, prohibitions, security, consequences and liability limitations of use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy and of the Internet.

    1. RIGHTS

    Users have certain rights and privileges. Infringement upon, or disrespect of, the rights of other members or users may result in the loss of network privileges and other disciplinary action including, but not limited to, suspension or expulsion

    A. Privacy/Monitoring Notification

    All computer communication systems received or contained on the network are the property of The Woodstock Academy and are to be used only for school-related purposes. All members of the school users community have the right to privacy in their private electronic communications. To ensure proper use of the computer network and of the Internet, private correspondence and/or files may be accessed at any time. Prior to a search, the user shall be notified and given an opportunity to be present during the search. In the event there is a reasonable suspicion that a user is using the network in violation of the guidelines stated in this policy, a teacher or administrator may gain access to private correspondence or files without prior notice. There also may be a need to access private files as part of regular system maintenance. An attempt will be made to notify users of this in advance whenever possible. It is important that users recognize the fundamental difference between public and private forms of communication.

    B. Equal Access

    Users will be granted free and equal access to as many network services as their technology allows. Exploration of the Internet is encouraged if consistent with the mission and policies of The Woodstock Academy. No single user should monopolize a computer or the network it uses. Users may be asked to remove personal files if total system storage becomes low.

    C. Safety

    To the greatest extent possible, users will be protected from harassment and unwanted contacts. Any student user who receives threatening or unwelcome communications should bring them to the attention of a teacher or administrator. Students must be aware that there are many services available on the Internet that could potentially be offensive to certain groups of users. The designers of the network cannot eliminate access to all such services, nor could they even begin to identify them. Individual student users must take responsibility for their own actions when navigating the Internet.

    D. Intellectual Freedom

    The computer network of The Woodstock Academy must provide a free and open forum for expression, including viewpoints that are controversial, unorthodox or unpopular. Students should be aware, however, that others may be openly critical of such opinions. Occasionally, a posted message may be received from outside the local school network with harsh criticism (a practice known as "flaming" or "slamming"). It is best not to respond to such attacks. Personal attacks are not an acceptable use of the network at any time. The Woodstock Academy Board of Trustees does not officially endorse any opinions stated on the network. Any statement of personal belief is implicitly understood to be representative of the author's individual point of view and not that of The Woodstock Academy.


    Students need to become familiar with their responsibilities while using the network and the Internet. Failure to adhere to them may result in the loss of privileges on the computer network of The Woodstock Academy, and possible disciplinary action including, but not limited to, loss of computer privileges, suspension or expulsion.

    A. Users must never share their password or account with anyone. They have the full responsibility for the use of their account. All violations of this policy that can be traced to an individual account name will be treated as the sole responsibility of the owner of that account. Under no conditions should users give their password to other users.

    B. Users should not knowingly degrade the performance of the network.

    C. Users must obey the rules of copyright. They must respect all copyright issues regarding software, information, and attributions of authorship. Commercial software may not be installed on the system without the express permission of a teacher or administrator.

    D. Posting personal communication to a public forum without the original author's prior consent is prohibited. To do this is a violation of the author's privacy. However, all messages posted in a public forum, such as newsgroups or alias E-mail, may be copied in subsequent communication, so long as proper attribution is given.

    E. Use of the network or computers for any illegal activities is prohibited. Illegal activities include tampering with computer hardware or software, unauthorized entry into computers, or vandalism or destruction of computer files. Such activity is considered a crime under state and federal law.

    F. Users must avoid the knowing or inadvertent spread of computer viruses. Computer viruses are programs that have been developed as pranks and can destroy valuable programs and data. Deliberate attempts to degrade or disrupt system performance of the network or any other computer system on the Internet by spreading computer viruses is considered criminal activity under state and federal law.

    G. Users must employ appropriate language. Profanity or obscenity will not be tolerated on the network. All users should employ language appropriate for school situations as indicated by school codes of conduct.

    H. Users should avoid offensive or inflammatory speech. Users must respect the rights of others, both on the local network and on the Internet. Personal attacks are an unacceptable use of the network. Impersonations, anonymity, or pseudonyms are not permitted. As an educational network, users must take responsibility for their actions and words.

    I. Conduct that is in conflict with the responsibilities outlined in this document will be subject to loss of privileges to use the network and/or computers of the Woodstock Academy and possible disciplinary action including, but not limited to, suspension or expulsion.

    J. Exemplary behavior is expected on "virtual" field trips. When visiting locations on the Internet, or using the video conferencing or screen sharing communication tools, users must conduct themselves as representatives of both their class and the entire Woodstock community as a whole.

    K. Any damages to the network or computers must be reported to a teacher or administrator immediately.


    Users of The Woodstock Academy computer network are expected to follow the accepted rules of network etiquette. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following. Users should:

    A. Be polite.

    B. Never send or encourage others to send abusive messages.

    C. Use appropriate language. Users are representatives of their school. What is written can be viewed worldwide. Never swear, use offensive or obscene words, or any other inappropriate language.

    D. Never reveal their names, home addresses and personal phone numbers nor the names, addresses and phone numbers of any other person while on the Internet.

    E. Report messages relating to illegal activities to a teacher or administrator, since electronic mail is not guaranteed to be private.

    F. Not disrupt the computer network in any way.


    Publishing of content to the World Wide Web via The Woodstock Academy network is a privilege and not a right. Items to be published to the web via The Woodstock Academy network will be posted ONLY with approval by the administration and/or the Director of Information Technology.


    The use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy for illegal, inappropriate, or unethical purposes by users is
    prohibited. More specifically:

    A. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy to facilitate illegal activity is prohibited.

    B. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy for commercial or for-profit purposes is prohibited.

    C. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy for non-school purposes is prohibited.

    D. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy for advertisement or political lobbying is prohibited.

    E. Malicious use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy to develop programs that harass other users or infiltrate a computer system, and/or damage the software of a computer or system is prohibited.

    F. Hate mail, harassment, discriminatory remarks, and other anti-social communications on the computer network of The Woodstock Academy is prohibited.

    G. The network and Internet will not be used to obtain obscene or pornographic material. There is to be no display or transmission of sexually explicit images, messages, or cartoons that contain ethnic slurs, racial epithets, or anything that may be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based on their race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious and political beliefs. The E-mail system should not be used to solicit others for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations, or other non-school related solicitations.

    H. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy to transmit material likely to be offensive or objectionable to recipients is prohibited.

    I. Use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy intentionally to obtain or modify files, passwords, or data belonging to other users is prohibited.

    J. Use of the computer network of the Woodstock Academy to misrepresent other users on the computer network of The Woodstock Academy is prohibited.

    K. Use of the technology or the computer network of The Woodstock Academy for fraudulent copying, communications, or modifications of materials in violation of the law is prohibited and will be referred to appropriate authorities.

    L. Loading or use of unauthorized games, programs, files and other electronic media is prohibited.

    M. Users should not allow on-site or remote access to district hardware or network without official authorization.

    N. The hardware and software of other users shall not be destroyed, modified or abused in any way. Abuse of any of the above activities will result in the loss of privileges to the computer network of the Woodstock Academy, and possible disciplinary action including, but not limited to, suspension or expulsion.

    O. Any situation disrupting the learning environment in the classroom, study halls, or the Library.


    Security on any computer system is a high priority because there are so many users. If a user of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy identifies a security problem, he/she must notify a teacher or administrator at once without discussing it or showing it to another user. The user must not use another individual’s account. Any user identified as a security risk will be denied access to the computer network of The Woodstock Academy.


    Users of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy shall be responsible for damages to the equipment, system, and software resulting from deliberate or willful acts. Failure to follow the procedures and prohibitions listed above may result in the loss of the right to gain access to The Woodstock Academy network and/or computers. Other appropriate disciplinary procedures may take place as needed. Illegal use of the computer network of The Woodstock Academy, intentional deletion or damage of files of data belonging to others, and copyright violations or theft of services will be
    reported to the appropriate legal authorities for possible prosecution. Refer to the “Disciplinary Structure” in The Woodstock Academy’s Handbook.


    The Woodstock Academy makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. The Board will not be responsible for any problems suffered while on the Internet. These problems include, but are not limited to, loss of data as a result of delays or otherwise, no-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by the Internet or users, which include errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained through the Internet is at the user's own risk. The Board will not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of information obtained through the Internet. In no event shall The Woodstock Academy be liable to any user for any damages, whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising out of the use of the Internet, or accuracy or correctness of databases or information contained therein, or related, directly or indirectly, to any failure or delay of the school district in providing access to the Internet. Nothing in this policy should be interpreted to constitute an expressed or implied contract on the part of The Woodstock Academy to continue to provide Internet or other computer services. The Board reserves the right to discontinue this service at any time with or without notice.

    Legal Reference:

    Connecticut General Statutes

    10-184 Duties of parents
    10-186 Duties of local and regional boards of education re: school attendance
    10-220 Duties of boards of education
    1-19(b)11 Access to public records. Exempt records.
    10-15b Access of parent or guardians to student’s records.
    10-209 Records not to be public

    Federal Statutes

    Children’s Internet Protection Act, 2000

    Policy Proposed: December 14th, 1999
    Policy Revised: August 15th, 2002
    Policy Revised: May 3rd, 2006 614.323