In order to take advantage of the opportunities the Internet provides, the Board authorizes the creation of school and/or district web pages on the Internet. Only those web pages maintained in accordance with Board policy and established procedures shall be recognized as official representations of the district or individual schools. All information on a school or district web page must accurately reflect the mission, goals, policies, program, and activities of the school and district. The web page must have a purpose which falls within at least one of three categories:
- Support of curriculum and instruction – intended to provide links to Internet resources for students, parents, and staff in the district;
- Public information – intended to communicate information about the schools and district to students, staff, parents, community and the world at large; and
- District technology support – intended to provide and respond to instructional and administrative technology needs of students and staff.
All material on a school web site shall be either original to the school, in the public domain or posted with the express permission of its rightful owner. This includes, but is not limited to, text, graphics, pictures, video, sounds, music, characters, logos and trademarks. Web page publications shall follow all applicable copyright laws and guidelines.
Web sites developed under contract for the school district or within the scope of employment by district employees are the property of the school district.
- Because Internet publications are available to the entire world, special care shall be taken to protect the privacy of students and staff. Web pages may not include personally identifying information regarding a student such as: telephone numbers, addresses, names of other family members, names of friends, e-mail addresses, specific location of a student at any given time, grades or any other academic information. No confidential information shall be published on or linked to the web site.
- Student work may be published on web pages only with written consent of the student’s parent/guardian or the eligible student before each incident of publication. The authorizing student shall also sign a copyright consent form.
- Links to student email accounts are prohibited.
- Pictures of students may be included only under the following conditions:
- Individual student pictures may be published on the web site only with written consent of the student’s parent/guardian or eligible student.
- Pictures of groups of students involved in a school-related activity may be published without consent; however, the students shall only be identified by the group name.
- Students shall not be individually identified in pictures unless there is a special reason for doing so, such as recognition for receiving and award. In such cases, the student’s parent/guardian or eligible student must give written consent.
No commercial use, sponsorship, advertisements, business logos, etc., will be allowed without prior permission of the director of schools.
The director of schools shall develop administrative procedures for development of web pages including content, quality and consistency standards and shall designate an individual(s) to be responsible for maintaining the official district web page and monitoring all district web page activity. A building principal shall make such designation for an individual school. Schools or departments who wish to publish a web page must identify the webmaster’s name, e-mail address and phone number on the web page.
As with any instructional materials or publication used by or representing the school or district, the building principal or director of schools, respectively, is ultimately responsible for accuracy and appropriateness of the information made available on the web site. Concern about the content of any page(s) created by students or staff should be directed to the building principal or the director of schools’ office when related to the district web site. If the concern is not resolved, persons who wish to file a formal complaint shall submit a written request for reconsideration of instructional material.
Legal Reference: 20 U.S.C.A. 1232 g (a)(5)(A)(B)
Cross References: Reconsideration of Instructional Materials 4.403
Use of Copyrighted Materials 4.404
Employee-Developed Materials 4.405
Media Access to Students
School administrators shall be authorized to grant permission and set parameters for media access to students in their respective schools. Media representatives shall be required to report to the administration for prior approval before accessing students involved in instructional programs and activities not attended by the general public. The media may interview and photograph students involved in instructional programs and school activities including athletic events. Such media access shall not be unduly disruptive and shall comply with Board policies.
Each year parents/guardians will be given the option to withhold permission for public news media interviews or photographs of their child at school.
Specific parental/guardian permission must be obtained if the story or photograph covers topics of a sensitive nature.
If any student is to be filmed or videotaped and will be identified or a primary subject of the filming or videotaping, prior written consent/release/waiver will be obtained from the student’s parent/guardian.
District employees may release student information to the media only in accordance with applicable provisions of the education records law and Board policies governing directory information and personally identifiable information.
Parents will be advised of this policy at the time of the student’s registration and each fall in the student/parent handbook.
Legal Reference: USCA 20-1232g; TRR/MS 0520-1-9-, 14(7)(h)
Cross Reference: News Releases, News Conferences & Interviews 1.503
News Releases, News Conferences and Interviews
The release of official news from the system and schools shall be coordinated as follows.
- The board chairman will be the official spokesman for the Board, except as this duty is delegated to others;
- News releases which are of a system-wide nature or pertain to established system policy are the responsibility of the director of schools or a designated member of the administrative staff; and
- News releases which are of concern to only one school or to an organization of one school are the responsibility of the principal of that particular school.
When individual board members or the director of schools express their views on any issue which is in opposition to a view expressed in board policy, they have the duty to make clear that the view expressed is not the official view of the Board or school system.
Board-Community Relations 1.500
Board Meeting News Coverage 1.502
Crisis Management 3.203