The History Lesson
When Internet use exploded in the late 90s, like with any boom, there were some undesirables that took advantage of the new Internet frontier. As a result, in an effort to protect students against harmful or obscene content, the Child Internet Protection Act was passed in 2000 and updated in 2011. The intent was to block this sort of content on public computers used by minors. To assure compliance, schools and libraries that participated in the discounted communications program known as E-rate, had to certify that they would comply with CIPA. Compliance included instituting filtering protocols for obscene or harmful images and monitoring student usage.
With the birth of social networking came cyber-bullying and student safety concerns. In 2008, the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act was passed requiring the additional stipulations that schools had to educate students about appropriate online behavior and Internet safety. In addition to the federal requirements, each state could impose further mandates. Arizona’s requirements can be found on the Arizona Department of Education Educational Technology page. I encourage you to see what your state requires.
How to Get a License to Operate on Your School’s Network
If your school participates in E-rate, you will have have to sign a user’s agreement. This agreement has several different names: Electronic Information Services User Agreement, Computer User Agreement, Acceptable Use Agreement, and so on. Regardless of the name, the agreements have required elements:
- State the intended purpose of Internet and computer use and Network access
- District’s right to monitor user activity
- Compliance with all copyright and licensing laws
- No unauthorized access, including “hacking,” using someone’s username and password, and any unlawful activities
- No inappropriate (obscene) or harmful content allowed
- Maintaining the security and privacy of minors – no disclosure of student’s personal information
- Consequences of non-compliance
Once you and, if you are a k-12 student, your parents have signed your district’s or school’s user’s agreement, you have your “license to drive” on the Internet super highway. Just as with any roadway, remember to obey the laws and be safe!
Sample Acceptable Use Policies
BUSD AUP – This is my school district’s user agreement. We are a small rural district on a Native American reservation in southern Arizona
Gila Bend – A small rural district bordering the Tohono O’odham Reservation. This agreement is for the elementary and middle school.
Grant High School – A rural New Mexico high school
Chinle Unified School District – A rural Navajo Reservation district in Arizona
National Center for Education Statistics – This template can be used by simply filling in the district’s name
Click here for a glossary of related terms for middle school students developed by Boston Public Schools.
Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. (2012). Children’s internet
protection act (CIPA). Retrieved from http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.pdf
Arizona Department of Education, Educational Technology. (2012). Children’s internet protection act (cipa). Retrieved