C O M P U T E R A N D I N T E R N E T L A W I N P U B L I C S C H O O L S

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William Allan Kritsonis, PhD …

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
Law Series

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  • 1. Computer and Internet Law in Public Schools William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
  • 2. State Law
    • Twenty-one states have Internet filtering laws that apply to public schools or libraries. The majority of these states simply require school boards or public libraries to adopt Internet use policies to prevent minors from gaining access to sexually explicit, obscene or harmful materials. However, some states also require publicly funded institutions to install filtering software on library public access terminals or school computers.
  • 3. Supreme Court Ruling on CIPA
    • In June 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld CIPA, overturning an earlier court ruling that had prevented the law from taking effect in libraries . In United States v. American Library Association, the court ruled that CIPA does not violate the First Amendment, even though it may block some legitimate sites, because libraries may disable the filters for adult patrons upon request.
  • 4. Federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
    • Congress in 2000 enacted the CIPA as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The act provides for three different types of funding; aid to elementary and secondary schools; Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants to states for support of public libraries; and the E-rate program that provides technology discounts to schools and public libraries.
  • 5. Establishing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
    • The first step a school should take is to set the ground rules for internet use so that everyone from students to teachers to parents know what is acceptable internet behavior.
    • The AUP clearly states how students are expected to make use of school provided internet access and how not to.
  • 6. Choosing a Product That Fits
    • It is important to choose a software program with the flexibility to suit your school’s AUP.
    • Schools should also choose a software program capable of filtering for a variety of users and situations.
  • 7. Houston Independent School District (HISD)
    • Incompliance with Children Internet Protection Act (CIPA) HISD has implemented filtering and/or blocking software to restrict access to internet sites. Content and spam filtering software is applied to all external e-mail correspondence on HISD’s electronic mail system.
  • 8. Summary
    • Allowing students to access the internet gives them the opportunity to explore libraries, database, museums, and other informational sites.
    • Parents and guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media and information sources.
  • 9. References
    • Walsh, J., Kemerer, F., & Maniotis, L. (2005). The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law: (6th ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
    • Greenberg, P. (2007). Children and The Internet: Laws Relating to Filtering, Blocking and Usage Policies In Schools and Libraries. Retrieved April 7, 2008, From http://www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/cip/filterlaws.htm
    • Jeanne. (2002-2004). CIPA. Retrieved April 7, 2008 From http://www.more.net/services/cipa/cipao2.html.