By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
High school students wondering about “bringing their own device” to school for educational purposes has been solved for Williamsburg Independent’s ninth through 12th graders.
During the regular meeting of the Williamsburg Independent Board of Education meeting Tuesday, board members unanimously approved an emergency reading of the school’s new “Bring Your Own Device” policy and procedures document.
This was part of the school district’s full Policies and Procedures manual.
This new policy and procedure guide covers personally-owned technology devices which have Internet capabilities and/or educational applications/software.
Devices include but are not limited to laptop computers, personal computers, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android phones, Microsoft Surface RTs, Kindles, Nooks and other tablets, according to the policy.
“Only high school students shall be allowed to use personally-owned electronic devices,” the policy states. “Middle school students shall not be allowed to use personally-owned electronic devices at this time.”
It adds that the school district will review and possibly include the middle school students in that realm at a later date.
Further rules in the policy indicate the devices are for educational purposes only and that usage would largely be during class with direct supervision of school personnel.
The policy and procedure guide also states that those devices with Wi-Fi capability may only access the Internet through the iPrism Internet content filter; and that students may only use one of the aforementioned devices at any given time.
Students are required to earn the use of their device by first getting their “Digital Driver’s License.”
“Students must gain knowledge of the nine elements of Digital Citizenship by completing the Digital Citizenship tutorials on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website,” the policy states. “And then each student must pass the final assessment in order to receive his or her individual Digital Driver’s License.”
The policy and procedure guide lists 20 responsibilities and rules for those students permitted to carry their own devices.
— Those devices may be used before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m., during the morning breakfast break and lunch break. All Internet access must be through iPrism.
— They may be used in class for educational purposes and will remain turned off on the students’ desks until the teacher/school administrator allows them on.
— Device use between classes or while changing class is prohibited. During class, if a student requires the restroom or must leave the class for a time, they will not be allowed to take the device with them.
— No games, texting, or social media access will be permitted during class or while in school.
— Usage during bus rides to and from school will be permitted.
— Students are responsible for all activity conducted when using their devices — all Internet postings and/or email messages will be education-related and appropriate.
— Devices may not be used to compromise academic integrity, including any type of cheating, texting, instant messaging or any other action which violates confidentiality or privacy rights of another.
— Students will be prohibited from using their devices or district-owned devices to harass any person, generate hate mail, make discriminatory or vulgar comments, curse or make threats of any kind.
— Devices may not be used to attempt to access inappropriate material, text files, and/or information advocating violence or harm to the integrity of the school district.
— Audio or video recording devices may not be used to demean, humiliate, bully or slander any students, teacher or administrator on or off school property at any time. Only under direct supervision may a student use devices to make education-related videos or take still pictures.
— Streaming videos during school hours is only allowed with direct permission and supervision of school staff.
— The school district will not be responsible for lost, stolen or damage to any devices brought on campus.
— Students must keep track of their own devices.
— Device accessories, cases, screen wallpaper and backgrounds must be school appropriate.
— Copyright laws and licensing agreements will be respected by students concerning information gathered from the Internet or other electronic sources.
— Access is restricted to information concerning, but not limited to, the following: gambling, illegal drugs, alcohol use, online merchandising, hate speeches, criminal skills, alternative journals and chat rooms.
— School and outside email accounts may be accessed only through the direct supervision of a teacher, administrator or other designated staff member.
— The school district may limit the use of devices when their use could compromise the district’s bandwidth capacities; an example of this would be during online End-Of-Course testing.
— Any additional rules developed by the school concerning personal device use must also be complied with by students.
— Any device used by a student at school, on a school trip, or at any other school function automatically grants any teacher, school staff member or administrator the right to confiscate and view the device if deemed necessary.
If any student violates federal or state laws, he or she will be immediately reported to and disciplined by the governing law enforcement agency — an example of this would be sending a threatening email.
Students violating the school’s new policy will also face disciplinary action. After the first violation, the device will be confiscated and returned after the appropriate time is served in detention hall. A second violation brings another confiscation, AIMS assigned, and another Digital Drivers License training assigned in AIMS, in addition to class assignments. A second-violation student will not get out of AIMS until the license training is complete, and when that happens, the device is returned to the parent.
After the third violation — that’s it — the student loses his or her digital license for the rest of the school year.
During the October board of education meeting, Principal Gary Peters explained that the part of the policy and procedures manual covering personal devices was under debate by the school’s educators.
During that meeting, the first reading of the remainder of the school district’s Policies and Procedures was approved — except for the part concerning personal devices. On Tuesday, not only was the emergency passage concerning those devices approved, but the second reading of the remainder of the district’s Policies and Procedures was unanimously approved as well.
Board member Kim Williams said she wanted board members and the school district to make sure “that what we do is in accordance with state changes.”
Superintendent Denny Byrd agreed that was happening.
Board member Roger Faulkner motioned to approve the district’s Policies and Procedures manual, with a second from Board member Kim White.
In other board business:
— Byrd told board of education members Tuesday that the annual Fall Festival held Nov. 5 brought $4,358 to the coffer covering the five-part addition of playground equipment for the school.
— The audit for the 2012-2013 school year came back without any problems, according to Barry Daulton. While no specific numbers were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, Daulton said that the school staff was “cooperative” when reviewing the numbers.
He said that in his opinion, the numbers were “presented fairly,” and added that it was an “unqualified opinion.”
“It’s the highest opinion you can receive,” he said, adding that the opinion is based on the financial statements taken as a whole. “There wasn’t any findings — (there were) no deficiencies disclosed in (the) financial statements.”
Williams asked about publicizing the budget, whether in the paper or through the school system’s website.
“There should be an online presence,” she said.
A review of the website showed the 2011-2012 annual publication was online as of Oct. 8, 2012.
Board member Allan Steely motioned to accept the audit, with a second from Faulkner. A show-of-hands vote proved the board unanimous.
— For more on Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, see the Thursday edition of The Times-Tribune.
By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
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