Compiled below is a generic policy which can be copied for use within your school. This policy was developed from multiple documents sourced from other schools and curated to form a comprehensive document. Some aspects of this may or may not be applicable to your school so feel free to edit as necessary.
As we enter into a fully online learning environment, there are additional rules and expectations relating to online etiquette which should be put in place. Access to online classes must be used in a responsible, safe, efficient, ethical, and legal manner. With expanded access to electronic information, availability of inappropriate material is not uncommon. Some sites contain illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or offensive information. dealing with this is a joint effort and can only be effective when partnering with parents to teach responsible Internet use.
INTERNET USAGE POLICY
All Internet data that is composed, transmitted, or received utilizing computer systems on the school premises is considered to be part of the official records of the school and, as such, is subject to disclosure to the parent, parents, administration or other third parties. Consequently, the school expects both students and parents to abide by the school’s Internet usage policy as outlined below:
Data that is composed, transmitted, accessed, or received via the Internet must not contain content that could be considered discriminatory, offensive, obscene, threatening, harassing, intimidating, or disruptive to any other person. Examples of unacceptable content may include, but are not limited to, sexual comments or images, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comments or images that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of race, age, sex, religious or political beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Abuse of Internet platforms and tools in violation of school policies will result in disciplinary action.
Below are examples of poor behaviors that are prohibited, but are not limited to this list. These behaviors will result in disciplinary action.
- Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages or images.
- Stealing, using, or disclosing someone else’s code or password without authorization.
- Copying, pirating, or downloading software and electronic files without permission.
- Sending or posting confidential material, trade secrets, or proprietary information outside of the organization.
- Violating copyright law. (see Copyright Act of Trinidad & Tobago)
- Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may incur a cost to the school or initiate unwanted Internet services and transmissions.
- Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials.
- Sending or posting messages that defame or slander other individuals.
- Attempting to break into the computer system of the school, another organization, or person.
- Refusing to cooperate with a security investigation.
- Using any Online Learning Portal for commercial advertisements, political causes or activities, religious activities, or any sort of gambling.
- Jeopardizing the security of the organization’s electronic communications systems.
- Sending or posting messages that belittles the school or another organization’s products or services.
- Passing off personal views as representing those of the school.
- Sending anonymous e-mail messages.
- Engaging in any other illegal activities.
- Disturbing any Online Learning Environment.
- Refusing to follow the rules of the specific Online Learning Classroom.
- Unmuting yourself when your teacher has placed you on mute.
- Recording any class session and transmitting it.
- Recording your teacher and/or classmates.
- Not dressed properly for class (examples: dressed in revealing clothes, dressed in clothes with inappropriate sayings).
- Participation in Cyber bullying and/or Harassment.
- Cheating and/or Plagiarism.
STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF MISCONDUCT
Students in an Online Learning Environment will continue to be held to National Schools Code of Conduct at the core. In the virtual environment, however, there is a set of non-traditional types of misconduct that must be regularly monitored and, if not hopefully eliminated altogether, then disciplined in an appropriate manner. Accordingly, in addition to the National Schools Code of Conduct, this Online Learning Code of Conduct incorporates expectations of conduct specific to virtual/remote learning classrooms. With expanded access to electronic information, availability of inappropriate material is not uncommon. Some sites contain illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or offensive information. Although it is impossible to control such misuses, we believe that with responsible use, the benefits of the Internet as an educational tool outweigh the negatives.
BULLYING AND HARRASSMENT POLICY
Harassment is prohibited between members of the school community, including communication of any form between students, parents, teaching staff or administration, and any third parties directly or indirectly. The schools is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which students, and staff can develop intellectually, professionally, personally and socially. Such an atmosphere must be free of intimidation, fear, coercion and reprisal. It is an expectation that all students and employees shall use all equipment and programs for the intended educational purpose. The school is committed to protecting students and staff from bullying, harassment or inappropriate uses of computers or programs to participate in bullying behavior. Bullying and Harassment will not be tolerated and shall be just cause for disciplinary action. Conduct that constitutes bullying or harassment, as defined herein, is prohibited.
Bullying, harassment, and cyber stalking are defined in the proposed Cyber Crime Bill (2017) as a an activity where person who uses a computer system with the intent to extort a benefit from another person by threatening to publish computer data containing personal or private information which can cause public ridicule, contempt, hatred or embarrassment commits an offence.
Any action by a student, teacher or parent deemed inappropriate will be fully investigated by the appropriate school administrator.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY
Academic integrity is an ethical code, whereby the student guarantees that all work submitted is the student’s own work. When students submit an assignment that is not their own original work, there are two issues involved:
- Students are earning credit for learning material for which they have not demonstrated mastery.
- They may be violating the policies of the school or other national policies.
There are two general kinds of academic integrity violations.
To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source. Some examples are, but not limited to the following:
- Copying and pasting a report from the Internet and representing it as your own work
- Copying any other work and not properly citing authorship
- To influence or lead by deceit, trick, or artifice
- To practice fraud or trickery to violate rules dishonestly
- Providing questions/answers/ work to another student
- Receiving questions/answers/work from another student
Consequences of Violation of this Policy:
A variety of consequences can be administered when students are discovered cheating or plagiarizing. Ultimately, final grades can be rescinded if a student is found to have cheated or plagiarized after the grade has been posted. Parents, as partners in supporting student learning, you are encouraged to:
- Ensure that their child’s work is authentic and original.
- Monitor, via your parent account.
- Ask any questions regarding plagiarism or cheating if they are not sure.
- Report any suspicious activity.
As a parent/guardian of a virtual school student, it is very important to understand the responsibilities associated with that role. With the many distractions students have today, it can be difficult for some students to set aside time to work on courses when not in school. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to encourage the student to manage their time in an effective way.
Teachers will keep the parent/guardian apprised of the student’s progress and will initiate contact if they fall behind in their coursework.
Parents are expected to supervise and monitor their student’s progress throughout the duration of the course, just as you would in a regular learning setting. This can be accomplished by accessing the parental account periodically to monitor student progress.
Parents should support Academic Integrity. Academic Integrity is a core values in a student’s academic life and one of the most important areas of focus as a learning organization. Students with Academic Integrity make decisions based on ethics and values that will prepare them to be productive and ethical citizens.
If a parent/guardian has a concern about the child’s performance or behavior, the parent/guardian should set up a meeting with the child’s teacher.1