IMPORTANT: Internet Safety Policies Must Be Updated NOW!!!

Every school receiving E-Rate funding must begin teaching online safety to its students beginning with the 2012 school year, and every school must now have updated their school’s Internet Safety Policy which was effective on July 1, 2012 to address the new requirement to educate students about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.  If you have not yet updated your ISP, be sure to do this immediately.

Effective July 1, 2012, if you do not have an updated ISP, you cannot request reimbursement for any E-Rate services until all the new compliance requirements have been met.

A few important notes:

At a minimum, the new ISP language should contain this language:  “The school district will educate all students about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.”

Although the FCC rules refer to Internet Safety Policies, it doesn’t matter what the name of your actual policy is, as long as it contains the required elements and if district policy requires, was approved by your board as an official school policy.

You can make the curriculum to be age appropriate.

You must keep documentation/records of what you do to comply with the requirement in case of an E-Rate audit.

As a summary, here is a general overview of the new requirements:

  • Beginning July 1, 2012, schools’ Internet Safety Policies must address:

–      Educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms

–      Cyberbullying awareness and response

  • This means that schools are required to teach online safety to students as a prerequisite to receiving E-Rate funding beginning with the 2012 school year

Internet safety policy must be updated by July 1, 2012

–      New public hearing not required

–      But board must approve change to policy if required under local policies

  • If such board approval is required, it must be done before July 1, 2012.
  • Policy cannot say that the school “may” educate students
  • District’s cyberbullying policy alone is not sufficient unless it addresses all the required elements
  • Just as important as having your ISP updated to be CIPA compliant is the actual cyber safety training that must begin with the 2012 school year
  • Are all students required to receive CIPA training every year? ***     — FCC staff consider this an ‘open issue.’  I’m sure we’ll have more advice later
  • Key is to develop an implementation plan and document compliance with the plan
  • In addition to all original CIPA documentation, the following should be kept to demonstrate NEW CIPA compliance:

–      Documentation of cyberbullying/appropriate online behavior education for all minors

–      Could be curriculum, sign-in sheets, teacher lesson plans, etc.

–      Keep records of when education occurred, to whom

–      Updated Internet Safety Policy, with approval date before July 1, 2012

Online Safety Education Resources

–      Great free resource for 4th and 5th graders!

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/erate

–      Free toolkit with great training resources to become CIPA compliant

Source:  Cathey George\Director, ESC Region 12, ESC12 E-Rate Consulting, O: 254-297-1268   C:254-709-2728   F:855-ERATE12 (855-372-8312), www.esc12.net/erate