School Board Approved Child Internet Protection Policy
The Milford School District School Board adopted a Child Internet Protection Policy (CIPA) at a recent board meeting. The policy is designed to monitor student use of district-owned computers and is required to comply with federal rules and regulations.
The policy requires the district to monitor students’ Internet access to prevent them from viewing inappropriate content as well as to protect students when using email, visiting chat rooms, or other forms of electronic communication. . The policy prohibits piracy, illegal activities, unauthorized disclosure of personal information as well as restricting access to harmful content by minors. A minor is defined as any student aged 17 or under.
“This policy would only be relevant for district-owned technology, right?” asked board member Dr. Adam Brownstein. “If a child has a computer at home that isn’t owned by the district, that doesn’t apply, does it?”
Technology supervisor Adam Richardson said Dr. Brownstein was right.
“My second question is the very first point where it says minors have access to inappropriate content on the Internet or the World Wide Web,” Dr. Brownstein said. “It seems very vague, which is probably done on purpose, and I understand that. But it also opens it up to interpretation down the road. So can you give us a little insight into why that wording has been chosen?”
Richardson explained that the wording was drafted by the district attorney, and he felt it was likely kept vague in order to avoid having to change it or redo the policy at a later date. School board president Jason Miller asked who determined what was inappropriate.
“The Delaware Department of Technology and Information has its own rules and firewalls that will block some traffic,” Richardson said. “We also currently use a product called Go Guardian which has a policy in place for things like gambling sites or sexually inappropriate things, drugs, alcohol, those kinds of things that are blocked by general categories. Now you can also drill down and add details, if needed, in the Commercial Firewall Filter.”
David Vezmar, a member of the board of directors, pointed out that this policy was simply a surveillance policy and not a disciplinary policy.
The policy requires the district to use DTI technology protection to block and filter adult and minor Internet access to obscene visual depictions, child pornography, or “regarding the use of computers with Internet access by minors – harmful to minors”. The policy also requires schools to educate minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with others on social media websites and chat rooms. They must also provide cyberbullying awareness and inform students of the district’s response to policy violations.
The board approved the policy unanimously.