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Policy details acceptable web use

by Jared Perlo
Principal Jennifer Price and other Student Faculty Administration members resoundingly approved an Acceptable Use Policy regarding Internet usage during Wednesday’s meeting.
The Acceptable Use Policy is a step on the way to fulfilling the proposal Lucia Grigoli ’12 presented to the SFA last year. Grigoli’s proposal requested that Facebook and other social media be unblocked from school computers under the condition that students sign an agreement addressing acceptable and appropriate Internet use.
The current draft of the Acceptable Use Policy covers cyberbullying, plagiarism and social media and is based on a template provided by Lightspeed Systems, the company that provides the Newton Public Schools with web filtering.
The policy states, “The Newton Public Schools network is intended for educational purposes.” First and foremost, students are “expected to use good judgment,” and be “safe, appropriate, careful and kind.”
Another important facet of the policy is in the section detailing overall access to the web. It reminds users that “web browsing may be monitored, and web activity records may be retained indefinitely,” according to the policy.
Beals housemaster Michelle Stauss extolled the policy, saying “I like the language in the policy. It’s blunt, but still student and staff-friendly.”
English teacher and librarian Kevin McGrath explained the importance of the policy and the need for a policy in today’s technological climate. “A lot of the proposal has to do with liability for the school system. It gets into the ethical aspect of being good to each other.”
McGrath summed up the gravity of the policy, saying that “it gives people something to point at, so people know exactly what is in the policy.”

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