Appropriate Usage Agreements
The following Appropriate Usage Agreements were developed by a committee within the Montgomery County Public School System, in Virginia, for use by students at various grade levels.
If I read these pages carefully, and [after] my mother or father signs the second
sheet, I may be allowed to use a computer at [Name of School] to look at
the Internet and send messages to people around the world. But I also
know that if I do not use the Internet in the right way, my teacher or
Principal may need to punish me. In fact, I may not be allowed to use the
Internet again at school.
I will read the rules for using the Internet that are given below and will ask
an adult at my school if I do not understand what any of them mean.
- I will be polite to other people when writing to them (or talking with
them) while I am on the Internet. I will not use curse words or any
language that my teacher or parent would not want me to use in my
- I will never give my name, my home address, any personal information
about me or my family, or my telephone number to anyone I write to
or talk with on the Internet. I know that almost anyone I contact is a
stranger to me, and that I don't share personal information with
strangers no matter how nice they seem to be.
- I know that my teacher and my Principal want me to use the Internet
to learn more about the subjects I am studying in my classroom. I will
not use the Internet for any other reason. For example, I will not
search for a comic book site when I am supposed to be looking for
something in science.
- Because the people I write to or talk with on the Internet cannot see
me, they will not know what I look like or even how old I am. When I
am on the Internet, I promise never to tell people that I am someone
else. And I will never send them personal information, such as a
picture or my name, by using an envelop and stamp.
- I understand that sometimes I may see a site on the Internet that has
pictures or words that my teacher or parents would not want me to
see. I will not try to find those sites and, if I come across one of them
by accident, I will leave it as soon as I can. For example, suppose I am
searching for a type of animal and find a picture that only adults should
see. I quickly use my forward or backward keys to take me to another
site. I will not continue to look at the site with the bad picture and will
not show it to others around me. I also will not print it out or save the
- I agree that I cannot use the words or pictures I see on an Internet site
without giving credit to the person who owns the site. For example, I
will not copy information from the Internet and hand it in to my
teacher as my own work.
- I may be given a password--a special word that only I know. I may
have to use this password to sign onto a computer or to send mail over
the Internet. I know that I must never tell a friend what that password
is. My password should be known only by me. And I know that I
should never use a password for myself if that password belongs to
someone else. For example, John asks me to loan him my password so
he can send someone an e-mail message. John cannot remember what
password he was given. I would not loan my password to him and
would never ask to use his.
Student's Agreement (for Students in the Second Grade or Above)
I have read the information that is written above. If I did not understand
the meaning of part of it, I asked an adult to explain it to me. I agree to
follow these rules at all times when I use the Internet at school.
Parent or Guardian
My son or daughter, who has signed above, understands the rules that he
or she is to follow in using the Internet at school. I have talked to him or
her to make sure that those rules are understood. I realize that teachers
and other school officials will try their best to provide only educationally-sound material from the
Internet to my child and that, should objectionable
pictures or information appear by accident, they will take immediate action
to correct that situation. I give my permission to Montgomery County
Public Schools for my son or daughter to use the Internet while on school
With the permission of your parent or guardian, [Name of School] offers
you an opportunity to use the Internet at school. We expect you to use the
Internet while in our building only for educational purposes approved by
[Name of School]. This use is a privilege, not a right, and we may
discipline you or take away your right to use the Internet at school if you
misuse this privilege. You are responsible for your own actions while you
are on the Internet at [Name of School] and are also accountable for any
online activities that occur by others because you have allowed them to use
As a student, you should read the following regulations and then sign this
form to show that you understand your responsibilities in using the Internet
at this school.
While using the Internet from school properties,
- While online, I will not use language which may be offensive to other
users. I will treat others with respect. The written and verbal
messages I send while on the Internet will not contain profanity,
obscene comments, sexually explicit material, nor expressions of
bigotry, racism, and hate.
- I will not place unlawful information on the Internet, nor will I use the
Internet illegally in any way that violates federal, state, or local laws or
statutes. I will never falsify my identity while using the Internet.
- I will not use the Internet for non-school
- I will not send chain letters nor any pyramid scheme either to a list of
people or to an individual, nor will I send any other type of
communication that might cause a congestion of the Internet or
interfere with the work of others.
- I will not use the Internet to buy or sell, or to attempt to buy or sell,
any service or product.
- I will not change any computer file that does not belong to me.
- I will not use copyrighted materials from the Internet without
permission of the author. I will cite the source where appropriate.
- I will never knowingly give my password to others, nor will I use
another person's password.
- I will never use the Internet to send or obtain pornographic or
inappropriate material or files.
- Except for the usual information contained in the headers of my
electronic mail, I will never give out personal information such as
name, address, phone number, or gender.
- I will never knowingly circumvent, or try to circumvent, security
measures on either Montgomery County Public Schools' computers or
on computers at any remote site.
- I will never attempt to gain unlawful access to another person's or
organization's resources, programs, or data.
- I will not make, or attempt to make, any malicious attempt to harm or
destroy data of another user on the Internet, including the uploading,
downloading, or creation of computer viruses.
I have read the Acceptable Use Policy for Internet Access, as written
above, and understand fully and agree to follow the principles and
guidelines it contains.
As the parent or guardian of this student, I have read the Acceptable Use
Policy for Internet Access as written above. I understand that Internet
access at school for students of Montgomery County Public Schools is
provided for educational purposes only. I understand that employees of
the school system will make every reasonable effort to restrict access to all
controversial material on the Internet, but I will not hold them responsible
for materials my son or daughter acquires or sees as a result of the use of
the Internet from school facilities. I give my permission to [Name of
School] to allow the student above to use the Internet on computers at the
Publishing of Documents
Internet/World Wide Web
Montgomery County Public Schools
Fall - 1997
During the past two years, many teachers, administrators, and students
have expressed an interest in creating hypertext markup language (HTML)
documents for publishing on the Internet/World Wide Web. From this
interest has come one of the largest sets of Web pages of any school
system in the nation. These pages deal with both district-wide and local
school matters. They publicize our accomplishments and provide
information about ongoing activities. This explosion of locally-produced
sites on the World Wide Web, however, has occurred quickly and without
a clear district-wide policy concerning the nature of the information that
should be provided within individual Web sites.
This document, produced in the winter and spring of 1997 by a committee
of administrators, teachers, and members of the community, is the first step
in setting this policy. The guidelines expressed in this document are in
effect as of the first day of the 1997-1998 session and will be modified as
needed throughout the year. The publishing, distribution, and modification
of this document will be the responsibility of the Office of Technology.
Changes in policy will occur only after sufficient input from schools and the
Montgomery County Public Schools encourages each school to post and
maintain its own Web pages. Not only does it promote the publication of
Web pages by employees, but it also encourages the same by students.
Recent SOL changes even require students to publish on the World Wide
Web, or on an internal Intranet system, before they can graduate from high
school. The following policy should be followed by all individuals and
schools who publish on the World Wide Web where the information being
published originates from a school- or district-maintained Web server, or
from any server currently in use by the school system (such as the one
provided by the Blacksburg Electronic Village).
On-line Images of Students in Grades PK-8
Images with the focus on either one or two students will not be placed on a
Web site. Pictures of three or more students, such as a class picture, are
For any picture of three or more students that is published on the Web,
neither first nor last names of the students shown in those pictures are to be
included with the image or in accompanying text. Where text on a page is
not associated with an accompanying image, only first names of students
may be used.
Schools need the permission of parents in order to publish student pictures
on the World Wide Web; however, they may issue a blanket permission
form for parents to indicate that they do not agree to the publication online
of their children's images. Schools should never publish an image, in
addition, without the direct permission of the students in that image.
On-line Images of Students in Grades 9-12
Pictures of students in grades 9-12 may be published without regard for
whether those images contain one, two, or a group of individuals; however,
school still need the permission of the parent(s), and the student(s) in the
picture, to publish such images on the World Wide Web. Students may be
identified by first name, last name, or both.
Intellectual Property Rights
Schools must protect individual rights concerning the publishing of
student-produced work, such as poems, short stories, and art. Not only
should a school have the permission of the student for such publications,
but parents must also agree. As for the posting of pictures of students, a
blanket permission form may be used.
Before posting student-generated work, schools must take reasonable care
that the content of that work is owned solely by the student. Plagiarism in
any form is not permitted.
Responsibilities of the School
The Office of Technology will assist in any way possible to resolve
conflicts in the publishing of World Wide Web pages by students and
school system employees; however, each school must assume the ultimate
responsibility for determining the content to be posted online. For this
purpose, each school shall establish an Internet Use Committee. This
committee shall review any complaints from students, teachers,
administrators, other school staff, or members of the community
concerning published work on school Web pages. This group will also
address other issues, as they arise, concerning Internet use in its building.
The Internet Use Committee will review and approve all pages written by
school employees and students and will make decisions about the
appropriateness of content and links before they pages are posted to a Web
server. The committee should review school pages periodically. Should
there be inappropriate material already on the school site prior to the
formation of the committee, this organization should ask for that material
to be deleted or changed as quickly as possible.
Discipline in all schools is the responsibility of individual teachers and
Principals. It is not intended that the Internet Use Committee in any
school, nor the Office of Technology, should have disciplinary powers
unless those powers are given it through the Principal and/or the school's
Privacy Rights Regarding Electronic Mail
The following steps need to be taken by each school to insure the privacy
of electronic mail access:
- A school, the Office of Technology, or others may choose to
assemble an electronic mail database consisting of online addresses
of employees. No information from such a list is to be provided to
vendors who might use it to send unwanted electronic mail to
school system employees.
- Online addresses of employees are not to be distributed to students
without the express permission of the employees involved.
- Schools may distribute electronic mail address of its employees to
personnel in the central office who ask for that information,
understanding that this information will be used only for
- It is the responsibility of the individual employee, and not the
school administration, to release to colleagues his or her own
electronic mail address.
- It is the responsibility of the individual employee, and not the
school administration, to provide members of the community with
the specific online address of an employee.
- Some electronic mail accounts may be generated by the school
system and maintained on a district-owned mail server. Under
normal circumstances, those who maintain this server will in no
manner read the electronic mail, outgoing or incoming, of account
owners who are reading or sending e-mail while using school
system computers. Schools must warn these individuals, however,
that recent court cases have determined that those accounts may be
read by certain individuals in administrative roles without infringing
upon the personal liberties of users.
Web Page Content
The Internet Use Committee at each school should review carefully the
content included on its own Web pages. These pages not only should be
attractive in appearance, and in good taste, but they should be maintained
with up-to-date and accurate information. The committee should consider
the following when judging the appropriateness of content:
- Personal home pages for both employees and students may be
linked to school pages; however, these sites must be of a
professional nature rather than just a listing of personal information,
such as name, age, school attended, hobbies and interests, etc.
- Commercial Web pages should not be linked to school pages unless
that link provides access to educationally relevant information.
- Web pages written by employees and students, and maintained on
either the Blacksburg Electronic Village or a district-owned server,
should not contain any language offensive to others. In addition,
they must not contain profanity, obscene comments, sexually
explicit material, nor expressions of bigotry, racism, or hate. These
pages must not include links to any other sites containing any of the
language or material listed above.
- No Web pages written by employees or students, and maintained on
either the Blacksburg Electronic Village or a district-owned server,
may promote or encourage illegal or immoral activities. No link
from these pages may lead users directly to any other page which
promotes or encourages illegal or immoral activities.
Miscellaneous Policy Statements
The use of electronic mail or Web research by students and employees is
encouraged. The guidelines for using e-mail from school facilities is
outlined clearly in the district's Acceptable Use Policy for Internet Use.
Each school's Internet Use Committee, however, should ask colleagues to
monitor carefully other uses of the World Wide Web. Montgomery
County Public Schools provides access to the Internet for educational
purposes only. Neither students nor employees should use the school
network during school hours for non-educational activities. Those
activities include chat rooms, MUDs, MOOs, online games or contests,
lotteries, etc. The Internet Use Committee may permit students to engage
in chat rooms, MUDs, or MOOs during school hours when those activities
are for educational purposes and are under the direct supervision of an
employee. No such activities are ever to be permitted in an area of a
school that may not be under direct supervision, such as in media centers.
Miscellaneous Questions and Answers Concerning this Policy
- Q: I have a picture of an elementary school student using a computer. In
the background are several other students. May I use this image on a
- A: No. If the focus of the picture is a single PK-8 student, or two PK-8
students, the presence of others in the background (who are obviously
not featured as a focus of the image), you may not use the picture on a
- Q: I have a picture of four PK-5 students sitting together at a table. Two
of these individuals are looking on as the other two are working on a
project. Can I publish this picture on a Web page?
- A: The answer is yes, if the two additional students have some role in the
creation of the project. If one reasonably could assume from looking
at the picture, for example, that all four students are collectively
involved in working on the project (and thus are vital parts of the
image) then the picture is acceptable for publishing.
- Q: We just took a group picture of my fifth grade class. Since there are
so many students shown in the picture, can I list all of their names
under the picture on the Web page?
- A: No. Neither first nor last names of students can be associated with a
picture of a PK-8 student on a Web page.
- Q: I have four pictures of individual students in my sixth grade class. Can
I simply place them side by side on the same Web page?
- A: No. Doing so violates the spirit of this policy. You will need to
redesign your pages to use images of three or more students.
- Q: I see that we can use blanket permission forms so that parents can
agree to allow the publishing of student pictures on a Web page. Can
we write the form so that parents will need to return the form only if
they object to the publishing of their children's' pictures on the Web?
- A: That decision is left to the discretion of the school administration.
- Q: A parent asked me to publish her third grade son's Haiku poem on, or
link it from, the class Web page. Unfortunately, the student himself
objects. What should I do?
- A: Do not publish the poem without both the parent's and the student's
- Q: I am proud of the fact that one of my fifth grade students actually
created a Web page. Can I link that page to our Web site?
- A: Normally, yes, because we encourage the publication of student work.
The state SOLs, in addition, require students to publish HTML
documents online. You should make certain, however, that any
picture on this page complies with the policy discussed under "Online
Images of Students in Grades PK-8 and that is done in good taste and
meets reasonable standards associated with the student's ability. Do
not publish work, even from a student, that reflects badly upon the
standards of your school.
- Q: How many people should serve on the Internet Use Committee in each
school and do we need to include teachers, aides, administrators,
and/or students in any particular combination?
- A: Committees are established by each individual school in the manner in
which they choose. Committees of one, or even of two persons,
generally are not effective. Please use at least three persons for this
group. Students may be members of the committee if you wish.
- Q: One of my tenth grade students created a page endorsing the use of
marijuana. He wants to link it to our school's home page under
student work. Should we link this page?
- A: The Internet Use Committee should make this decision. The Policy
Committee's intent was to prohibit any publication of (or linking to)
any page which would be unacceptable in an educational setting. For
example, was the content of the student page illegal or immoral in
nature? In this case, the Internet Use Committee might look to see if
the student's page was written as part of an assigned classroom project
and determine if it indicates on the page that the content represents
one side of the marijuana use debate. If so, the Internet Use
Committee may determine that the page is of educational value and
permit it to be published.
- Q: A student came to me with a page she wanted to link to our class
pages. It is already online on a server that is not owned by the school
system. I checked the page she wanted to link to and found that the
page itself was acceptable, but that it linked to a site on cults that I
really did not think was appropriate for access by students. Should I
permit this link.
- A: Make your major decision based on the page to be linked. Is that
particular page objectionable in any way? For example, if it links to
one or more pornographic sites (, you might not want to allow the
linking of that page from your class site. This question is not an easy
one. Internet Use Committees will vary in the ways and for what
reasons they make their decisions. Simply use your best judgement.
- Q: I really don't want my electronic mail address on any database kept by
anyone in the county. Do I have to participate? Do I even have to
accept an e-mail account if it's created for me?
- A: It is a reasonable request for your school or district administration to
ask you to accept an electronic mail address to be used only for
educational purposes. As access to county-wide networks becomes
more available to our staff, we would like to have the resources to
communicate quickly and more effectively that we do now. We will
never reach a "paperless" school system; however, electronic mail is an
efficient way of connecting people and information. Please remember
that electronic mail itself is not intrusive nor objectionable unless it is
misused. The school system and your school will never allow
electronic mail addresses to be released to anyone without your
permission. It also will not burden you unnecessarily by sending you
constant or useless mail that is not relevant to the educational process.
- Q: My electronic mail address is provided through America Online
(AOL). Can I ask that my e-mail address not be present on a school-
wide or district-wide e-mail database?
- A: Yes; however, please remember that electronic mail databases are
never distributed either outside the school district nor to individuals
inside the district without your permission. Such databases are kept
solely to provide you with information which you may need as part of
your professional career. Should the school system create an account
for you which is based on a district-owned mail server, the system
reserves the right to keep your address on that database for the
purpose of information gathering and distribution for employees
throughout the district.
- Q: I don't mind one of my e-mail accounts being created on a district-
owned server, but what will you do about "spamming" (the unsolicited
sending of electronic mail) for my account?
- A: If an employee's account is one available to receive public mailings,
the school system will make a genuine effort to provide "spamming
filters" or other software/hardware to prevent the unwanted invasion
of your privacy.
- Q: I want my students to use a chat room but worry about their conduct
while using the room and whether other students or adults online with
them are behaving properly. I've heard that some chat rooms, for
example, contain cursing or abusive language. What should I do?
- A: The use of a chat room, or of MUDs and MOOs (two other ways that
students can interact in real time) is at the discretion of the teachers
and administration of a school. The official policy simply asks that
students not access those types of sites without supervision, since a
few of these chat, MUD, and MOO areas contain objectionable
content and language.
- Q: My school is thinking of setting up a chat room on our Web site for
use by students and staff. Under this policy, can I establish a chat
room? If so, are there any restrictions on usage?
- A: Chat rooms are not necessarily bad. Many of them, in fact, serve
educationally sound purposes. Schools may build a chat room into
their own Web sites. If you do so for your school, make sure that you
develop a comprehensive plan for the use of your chat room so that
the room is monitored by staff and benefits positively the educational
program. When in doubt, consult the Office of Technology for advice.
- Q: So what about newsgroups? Are all newsgroups "safe" for students,
or educationally-sound tools to use in our school?
- A: Most newsgroups are acceptable for students to use. Simply screen
their use occasionally to determine whether content is appropriate. No
newsgroup beginning with "alt" should be allowed, since these
newsgroups are not moderated and often contain topics to which
students should not be exposed during school hours.
- Q: What should I do if I see a page posted by another school that seems
to be in bad taste, or is simply in violation of this policy?
- A: Please contact the Office of Technology with that information. Their
personnel will look at the pages and contact the Internet Use
Committee at the school hosting the offending site. An alternate
method would be to contact the person whose name appears on the
school's home page as the one who is responsible for maintaining the
site. Generally, that name is linked to an electronic mail address and a
simple e-mail message to that person, with an explanation of the
problem, should do. Remember that although all schools will try to
adhere to this policy, unacceptable pages may be posted occasionally
- Q: I have a student who has developed a Web page based on a project I
assigned in class. He has downloaded images for his page that have
come from other pages on the World Wide Web. What should I do?
- A: When a student puts a downloaded image on his or her page,
permission to do so must have been obtained from the person who
owns the page from which the image was taken. That permission may
be given via e-mail and is often gained simply by send an e-mail
request to the person who has developed the page where the image is
- Q: Your parts of the policy concerning pictures of students and
permission from parents may give us some problems. We already have
some violations of this policy on our school pages. For example, we
have pictures of elementary school students in costume, participating
in a play. We also have posted some student poems, and now the
students who wrote those poems have moved on to another grade
(perhaps outside our school) with another teacher. That makes
permission slips from parents difficult to obtain. What do we do?
- A: Because of these problems, and because the images now posted
undoubtedly will be taken offline soon as other pictures are posted, we
will establish a "grandfather clause" to protect all present pictures and
student work. For school pages published prior to August 25, 1997,
the opening day of school, schools will have one semester (until the
first day of the second semester of the 1997-1998 session) to conform
to this policy. The Office of Technology, however, urges schools to
make the changes as quickly as possible.
- Larry Arrington, Supervisor of Technology, Montgomery County Public Schools
- Peggy Arrington, Former School Board Member
- Jayne McElvery, Media Specialist, Harding Avenue Elementary School
- Kat Emory, Technology Coordinator, Montgomery County Public Schools
- Susan Lester, Technology Coordinator, Montgomery County Public Schools
- Leo Piilonen, Professor of Physics, Virginia Tech
- Carol Shields, Fifth Grade Teacher, Shawsville Elementary School
- Pam Taylor, Art Teacher, Christiansburg High School
For more information, please contact:
Larry W. Arrington, Ed.D. - Supervisor of Technology - (540) 382-5130
Montgomery County Public Schools - 200 Junkin Street - FAX: (540) 381-6189
Christiansburg, VA 24073 - firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com
Last updated 97/09/02