3012: Staff Internet and Computer Use

Internet access is an important tool for communicating, keeping up-to-date with current developments in education, and for conducting research to enhance management, teaching and learning skills. The following procedures and guidelines are intended to ensure appropriate use of the Internet at the ESU by the ESU’s staff. Staff should also refer to the ESU’s policy on Staff and ESU Social Media Use.

  1. Staff Expectations in Use of the Internet
    1. Acceptable Use While on Duty or on ESU Property
      1. Staff shall be restricted to use the Internet to conduct research for instructional purposes.
      2. Staff may use the Internet for ESU-related e-mail communication with fellow educators, students, parents, and patrons.
      3. Staff may use the Internet in any other way which serves a legitimate educational purpose and that is consistent with ESU policy and good professional judgment. 
      4. Teachers should integrate the use of electronic resources into the classroom. As the quality and integrity of content on the Internet is not guaranteed, teachers must examine the source of the information and provide guidance to students on evaluating the quality of information they may encounter on the Internet.
    2. Unacceptable Use While on Duty or on ESU Property
      1. Staff shall not access obscene or pornographic material.
      2. Staff shall not engage in any illegal activities on ESU computers, including the downloading and reproduction of copyrighted materials.
      3. Staff shall not use ESU computers or ESU internet access to use peer-to-peer sharing systems such as BitTorrent, or participate in any activity which interferes with the staff member’s ability to perform their assigned duties.
      4. The only political advocacy allowed by staff on ESU computers or ESU internet access is that which is permitted by the Political Accountability and Disclosure Act and complies with ESU policy.
      5. Staff shall not share their passwords with anyone, including students, volunteers or fellow employees.
  2. ESU Affiliated Websites
    1. Staff must obtain the permission of the administration prior to creating or publishing any ESU-affiliated web page which represents itself to be ESU-related, or which could be reasonably understood to be ESU-related. This includes any website which identifies the by name or which uses the ESU’s mascot name or image.
    2. Staff must provide administrators with the username and password for all ESU-affiliated web pages and must only publish content appropriate for the ESU setting. Staff must also comply with all board policies in their ESU-affiliated websites and must comply with the board’s policy on professional boundaries between staff and students at all times and in all contexts.
    3. Publication of student work or personally-identifiable student information on the Internet may violate the Federal Education Records Privacy Act. Staff must obtain the consent of their administrator prior to posting any student-related information on the Internet.
  3. Enforcement
    1. Methods of Enforcement - The ESU owns the computer system and monitors e-mail and Internet communications, Internet usage, and patterns of Internet usage. Staff members have no right of privacy in any electronic communications or files, which are stored or accessed on or using ESU property and these are subject to search and inspection at any time. 
      1. The ESU uses a technology protection measure that blocks access to some sites that are not in accordance with the ESU’s policy. Standard use of the Internet utilizes a proxy server-based filter that screens for non-curriculum related pages. 
      2. Due to the nature of technology, the filter may sometimes block pages that are appropriate for staff research. The system administrator may override the technology protection measures that blocks or filters Internet access for staff access to a site with legitimate educational value that is wrongly blocked.
      3. The ESU will monitor staff use of the Internet by monitoring Internet use history to ensure enforcement of this policy. 
    2. Any violation of ESU policy and rules may result in that staff member facing: 
      1. Discharge from employment or such other discipline as the administration and/or the board deem appropriate;
      2. The filing of a complaint with the Commissioner of Education alleging unprofessional conduct by a certified staff member; 
      3. When appropriate, the involvement of law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing.
  4. Off-Duty Personal Use - ESU employees may use the internet, ESU computers, and other ESU technology while not on duty for personal use as long as such use is (1) consistent with other ESU policies, (2) consistent with the provisions of Title 92, Nebraska Administrative Code, Chapter 27 (Nebraska Department of Education “Rule 27”), and (3) is reported as compensation in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and taxes, if any, are paid. All of the provisions of Rule 27 will apply to non-certificated staff for the purposes of this policy. In addition, employees may not use the ESU’s internet, computers, or other technology to access obscene or pornographic material, sext, or engage in any illegal activities.

Adopted on: June 9, 2008
Revised on: Sept. 10, 2018
Reviewed on: Dec. 11, 2014
Reviewed on: Oct. 11, 2021