By Cyndee Perkins

Updating your school’s Responsible Use Policy for technology may keep you from ending up in court! As schools are held more accountable for student actions, setting good policies on campus may help influence behavior off campus…and protect your school’s reputation!

I spend a lot of time communicating with technology teachers and coaches, media specialists and network administrators at schools and online. They are usually enthusiastic about their jobs, until I ask about their Responsible/Acceptable Use Policies. Then their eyes roll toward the ceiling, feet shift uncomfortably, and vague smiles drift across their faces.

“Oh, I think I saw that when I was hired a few years ago.”

“The hardware guy takes care of all that.”

“We must have one somewhere.”

“You know, I should probably check on that.”

By not publishing an RUP for both parents and children to sign, a school runs the risk of being held liable for the actions of its students. Writing an RUP doesn’t have to be hard, just up to date!

Some general recommendations when writing a Responsible Use Policy include:

Define technology broadly (include cell/smart phones, notebooks, e-readers and other portable technology)

Solicit input from administrators, staff, students and parents. LISTEN to their input.

Frame the policies positively – tell what you expect rather than what you forbid!

Translate and distribute the RUP into the language of the home.

• AND check with your school’s insurance company to determine liability and guidelines. Protect your school financially.

You can download additional recommendations and a sample RUP from the Computer Explorers Document Center: Designing a Responsible Use Policy.

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