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TIES TLC 2012: Aimee Bissonette: Legal Implications of Student Owned Devices

Aimee Bissonette, an expert in school law spoke at the TIES Technical Leadership Conference on Legal Implications of Student Owned Devices. Her presentation and notes are here.
She began with a disclaimer that if issues arrise in your district, you need to consult YOUR OWN lawyers!

Student Free Speech
Students currently engage in cyberbullying, posting as others, etc., but mostly off campus. Case Law is still in flux.
In Layshock vs. Hermitage School District, a 17 year old received a 10 day susspention  for creating an imposter Website on their principal. He was the 3rd student to do this and the principal had enough.
In Snyder vs. Blue Mtn. School District, an 8th grader posted sexually explicit material and the principals photo on an imposter site. The student received a 10 day susspension.
In Layshock, the court said it was innapropriate. In Snyder, they agreed with the school district. Both are under appeal. Both of these rulings occured on the same day! The 3rd Circuit took up both cases and ruled that the schools acted wrongly, because they disciplined students for sites created outside of school. However, both principals could have sued for defemation, but chose not to. 
In January of this year, the Supreme Court chose not to take up the case. They also chose to not take up the Kowalski case where a student cyberbullied another student. The student was suspended and the suspension held. There is no clear direction! 

Schools Can't Wait For the Courts!
Schools Can't Wait For Legislatures! (Note Missouri and Louisiana)
The best tool for schools is policy!

They have been part of our lives for a long time now, and every district represented in the room has one.
They insure students are protected, and enable students and teachers to access resources on the Internet.
The initial policies were more about protection. Now they are evolving to talk about "Responsible Use!"
Bissonette noted that Blogs, Wiki's Social Bookmarking sites and Cloud Based tools are out their, and we should teach kids to use them correctly.
Half the people in the room has revisited their AUP in the last year. She encourages people to do so!
Consider changing the name to "Responsible Use" rather than "Acceptable Use"
Frame the AUP in terms of the Bennefits! She showed the Bellingham Public Schools 1st paragraphs as a good example!
She suggests that districts create a schedule for when they review their AUP. This can then enhance buy in. It is important to include teachers, administrators, parents and students not just the IT people.

State and Federal Laws
CIPA, FERPA at the Federal Level
State laws pertaining to Internet Use in schools.
In Minnesota, the US Dept. of Education says that our current bullying law gets an F.
Key Minnesota Laws include: 
Minn Stat. 122A Teachers and Other Educators
Minn. Stat. 121 A Anti Bullying Law
A question came up about student owned devices and CIPA-If they are off your network, are you in violation. She recommends that you tell students not to access off your network.

Four Big Ideas for Your AUP
Responsible personal conduct online is similar to Face 2 Face
Individuals must protect personal safety (I asked her to define this)

  • From a legal standpoint this means "don't have too much self-disclosure." Research has shown that it is students who share too much info or posting on inappropriate sites
  • Age Appropriate
  • She talked about ""
  • Discretion and appropriateness are key

Civic Life has an expanding digital dimension that demands responsible engagement by individuals and groups.
Long-lasting implications to publishing in the online environment.

Doug Johnson asked about the new MSBA revised AUP guidelines that 

She shared our policy as an example that references off campus behavior. 
Bissonette recommends that the policy address student owned mobile devices. She suggests stating that students are prohibited from accessing other networks on campus, and that they should include examples of different types of technology. 

She suggests "test-driving" BYOD and BYOD policy language that allows you to add additional rules as needed. She referenced the Jefferson-Scranton School district as an example of best practice.
Confiscation is ok if missuse is occuring. It is NOT recommended for the classroom teacher to "rifle through" to see what is in the computer. That should be left to an administrator and only with due cause. For example, if a student is accused of taking pics of a test, you can look at the cell and the pictures on the cell. 

Web 2.0
Barington, IL
Edina, MN (No we didn't pay her for all of these references!)
Fairfax County Schools in Va has very specific guidelines. The "Best Practices" approach is good because it doesn't constrain you.

Cell Phones
Probably not a good idea to ban cell phones but allow BYOD! 

Someone in the audience noted that a BYOD program is NOT a 1:1 computing program.
Student sharing, additional carts are ways to supplement.
Do NOT require students to have one, unless you're ready to provide for those who don't!

Staff Off-Hours or Off-Site Use
Natalie Monroe, the Pensylvania teacher who posted how bad her students were on her blog, who now has REALLY SMALL CLASS SIZES!
She shared other cases of teachers who did not use common sense when posting online.
It is important in your policy to show a nexus regarding off duty behavior.
She said she likes Minnetonka's Guidelines for conduct
She said that you might want to specify that during the school day, even if you're on 3G and on your lunch break, you should specify what is permissible.


Scott McLeod said…
Scranton's AUP is a model? I like Aimee a lot but this is a model only from a lawyer's viewpoint. It's all about NO, NO, NO!!!

I continue my search for AUPs that balance appropriate use with STUDENT EMPOWERMENT. Ugh.
Unknown said…
Have you seen @baldy7's policy here.

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