By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor
The ubiquitous nature of technology and its infusion into nearly every aspect of life seems to have dulled many of us to the fact that everything digital can still be traced. A recent news story in Education Weekmakes the point as clearly as possible. A superintendent and his athletic director were using district-owned technology to have a discussion involving racial slurs of the students and staff. Both administrators are now former employees of the district.
Courts have reminded us that having someone sign an AUP once when they are first employed isn't enough. We need to regularly remind our students and staff that they are responsible for what they do while using district technology and often even when using their personal technologies at school or for school functions.
In the early 1990s, I used to remind staff each year that anything that one of them did in a digital medium could be tracked. Please be responsible! However, every year, someone in that large district would end up getting terminated over something they did without engaging their thought process. The days of "that just popped up" on my screen are probably over.
If you need help developing a good AUP, try the College of Education at University of Illinois, the Northwest Educational Technology Consortium's examples or simply plagiarize the North Boone Acceptable Use Policy, student document, and staff document.
Take a few minutes at your next administrative team meetings, building meetings and staff meetings to remind folks to be responsible users of the district's technology resources. It is always sad to have to end someone's career over mistakes that could have been easily prevented with a bit of forethought. Review the district's Acceptable Use Policies and remind them that the consequences of violating them can often be dire.
Steven M. Baule is superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning. Follow North Boone on Twitter @NBCUSD200.