Acceptable use policies

From an education standpoint, acceptable use policies (or AUPs) are rules set by the school or school system that restrict the ways that computers and other technologies may be used by staff and students. Most often, all staff and students (or their parents) must sign an acceptable use policy before they are allowed to use computers connected to the system's network. AUPs should be clear and concise by listing actions that are allowed as well as actions that are prohibited.

They should also include what disciplinary actions will be taken if the policy is violated. AUPs are generally put in place to protect the safety of the users as well as prevent the school or school system from a lawsuit. The National Education Association suggests that an AUP have six sections. They are: a preamble, a definition section, a policy statement, an acceptable uses section, an unacceptable uses section, and a violations/sanctions section.

The preamble should explain the purpose and goals of the policy. The definitions section is used to explain terminology that could be misinterpreted by students, staff, or parents such as "Internet", "computer network", or "educational purposes." The policy statement explains what is covered in the AUP and what requirements must be met in order for staff and students to use the technology. The acceptable uses section outlines what activities are permitted by the AUP. In the same manner, the unacceptable uses section tells what types of activities are not permissible under the AUP. Finally, the violations section should explain how to report a known violation and what actions will be taken against those who violate the AUP.

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