Wikipedia defines an acceptable-use policy (AUP) as a collection of rules established by the owner or manager of a network, web site, or computer system. The AUP is designed to regulate the way a network, website, or computer system is utilized. Acceptable Use Policies are used by businesses, schools, and internet providers. An AUP is considered one of the most important documents in an organization.
Almost every school system has an AUP. The Lauderdale County Alabama School System is no exception. Lauderdale County’s AUP states that their primary goal is to use technology to support the education and instruction of the faculty and students of the district. The policy goes on to list acceptable use guidelines. The policy lists things like not duplicating copyrighted material, adhering to software license agreements, installing software, downloading, protecting personal files, and passwords.
The AUP also has a special section for internet and email use. The policy states that the internet is provided to the students and the staff to further education goals. The internet also allows students and teachers to access resources outside of the physical school setting. The policy gives a list of things that are not permitted. The list contains things like sending offensive messages, violating copyright, using the network for commercial or illegal use, and wasting limited resources.
Overall, Lauderdale County’s AUP is vague. There are no clear statements about what they deem as acceptable use of the internet. There are however many statements about how not to use the internet and other technologies provided by the district. The AUP states that the user must employ acceptable and responsible behavior when using the district’s internet and email services. The AUP document does not define what the district deems to be acceptable behavior. The AUP takes for granted that all the students and teachers have the same opinion of about what is acceptable use of the internet.
AUP documents are changing as quickly as technology. In order for an AUP to be effective and relevant, it needs to reflect current technologies and proper uses of current technologies. Teachers, students, parents, and administrators need to fully understand their school system’s AUP.