Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

    An AUP is a written agreement between an organization and its information system users, concerning Acceptable Use Policies, meaning that it details what can and cannot be done while using the district’s information systems.  Common Sense Media states that, “An AUP should protect students while also allowing them access to information systems, such as the Internet and any applicable networks” (2016).  

    According to Magid, it is important to add additional rules to protect children from anyone or anything that is inappropriate or uncomfortable, “I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable. I will never agree to get together with someone I ‘meet’ online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will make sure it is in a public place and I will bring my mother or father along.  I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents” (1998).

    While I was in the Army as a Military Intelligence Officer, my main focus was on security. Security of the building and personnel, motor pool, weapons, classified files and information systems. Therefore, I had a large part in motivating the members of my unit to complete their AUPs, annually.  If it was not completed and forwarded to the correct office within one year of that individual gaining access to the unit’s information systems, then the Soldier would have their account deleted.

    I am not sure if a school district would be that harsh, but with today’s possible abuse of information systems by students or those exploiting children, via sexting, online bullying and harassment, etc. they probably should. This brings me to an important point: An AUP is only effective if it is enforced!

  The Scholastic Librarian Page states that you should have, “Students, parents and your principal commit to these rules by signing the contract. Be sure to post a copy of your AUP near each computer and remember that part of successful implementation of an AUP is making sure that someone in your school is appointed to enforce the AUP rules” (2016).

 Additionally, an AUP should include the following guidelines and be tied to the district’s code of conduct, while also being written in a way that students can understand what it means and what they are agreeing to follow:

  • Instructional philosophies and strategies supported by information systems in the district
  • Educational uses and advantages
  • Responsibilities of the Principal, faculty, parents, and students
  • Code of conduct governing behavior
  • Consequences of violating the AUP
  • Acceptable and unacceptable use
  • A disclaimer absolving the district from responsibility
  • State that access and use is a privilege
  • Compliance with state and national telecommunication rules and regulations
  • Maintain personal safety and privacy
  • Comply with Fair Use Laws and other copyright regulations
  • A signature page on the AUP for teachers, the Principal, parents, and students to sign, indicating their intent to abide by, and enforce, the AUP.

Examples:

  1. Hillbrook School Technology AUP
  2. Campbell Hall Technology Values & AUP
  3. US Army AUP
  4. Joint Base Lewis McChord AUP

 

References

Common Sense Media. (2016). 1-1 Essentials: Acceptable use policies. Common Sense Media.

Education World. (2016). Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (AUP). Education World.

Magid, L.R. (1998). Child safety on the information highway. VA: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016), Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Online tools, uses, and web-based development, pp.173-179. Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.

Scholastic. (2016). Using technology: Why have a technology policy in your school or library?. Scholastic.