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Defining Appropriate Instructional Material

Reports about teachers in several states permitting students to view the Internet-based video of the decapitation of an American citizen in Iraq have brought up concerns and questions for our site administrators. It had not occurred to them that something like this would ever happen, but now that it has, they want to know what steps the district can take to prevent it from happening here.

While districts have policies that ban the viewing of movies with certain ratings or Internet-based pornographic images, very few have established policies about other graphic images available through the Internet. In the wake of events of this past spring, it appears that this is an issue that districts must address through the development of a formal policy, perhaps as part of a revised Acceptable Use Policy. This is a task that must be initiated at the district level; and, the resulting policy will need to be approved by the school board. Once adopted, the policy must be carefully explained to staff and students.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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