Technology Responsible Use Policy (RUP)

Blount County Schools relies on its computer network to enhance education outcomes. To ensure that BCS’ computer resources are used properly by its employees, students, independent contractors, agents, vendors, and other computer users, the Blount County Board of Education has drafted and approved the following Responsible Use Policy.

The rules and obligations described in this policy apply to all users of BCS’ computer network or computer resources, wherever they may be located in BCS’ policies. Specific policies against discrimination and harassment (sexual or otherwise) apply fully to BCS’ computer resources, and any violation of these policies serves as grounds for discipline up to and including termination. Students who violate these policies are subject to disciplinary action consistent with Board policy and the Student Handbook. Vendors, consultants, and all other third party guest users must adhere to these policies and are subject to losing their right to access BCS’ computer resources for violations of these policies.  

By complying with the provisions in this Responsible Use Policy, users consent to monitoring as a condition of access under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (1986). All users should be aware that BCS’ computer resource uses including all its components are subject to monitoring in order to comply with the Alabama Supercomputer Authority and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  Employees, students, and other users should not have any expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive using the BCS’ computer resources.  The main goal of this aspect of the Responsible Use Policy is to ensure our children’s safety and protection while using technology for educational purposes.

This Responsible Use Policy is crafted in the spirit of the Purpose and Direction for Blount County Schools, which includes our Mission “to create life-long learners by providing quality education and meeting the needs of all students” and our Vision to collaborate with all “stakeholders to prepare responsible citizens ready to succeed in an ever-changing global society.” This policy also fully represents our Beliefs as a school system and is undergirded by the three tenets framing the Purpose and Direction: College and Career Readiness for Every Student; Commitment to Continuous Improvement; and a Positive, Collaborative, and Safe Learning Environment.

All technology resource use will be governed by the requirement that it must add to the standards-based educational experience and growth of the user and not disrupt the educational process in any way.



The term “computer resources” as used herein refers to BCS’ entire computer, electronic and communications network. Specifically, the term “computer resources” includes, but is not limited to computers, host computers, file servers, application servers, communication servers, mail servers, fax servers, Web servers, workstations, stand-alone computers, laptops, tablets such as IPADs, telephones, facsimile machines, scanners, software, data files, peripherals such as printers, and all internal and external computer and communications networks (for example, Internet, commercial online services, value-added networks, e-mail systems) that may be accessed directly or indirectly via remote access (including access by students, vendors, consultants and all other third party guests using personally owned computer hardware as authorized by BCS) from our computer network or that are owned or have been purchased by BCS.

Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to technology models where students bring a personally owned device to school for the purpose of learning. A personally owned device is any technology device brought into the school and owned by a student (or the student’s family), staff, or guests.

  • Laptop computers are portable computers that can be used with or without the Internet.
  • Netbook computers are portable computers that gain most of their functionality through the Internet.
  • Smartphones/handhelds, some of which blur the lines between the Internet and cellular networks (e.g., Blackberry, Android, iPhone, personal digital assistants, iPod Touch).
  • Tablet computers fall along a continuum from laptop-like to large size smartphones (e.g., iPad, Android tablet, etc.).
  • E-book readers (e.g., Kindle, Nook, Kobo)
  • Audio MP3 Players (iPod, etc.)
  • Smart Watches

Users” include employees, substitutes, students, and guests, using technology, including, but not limited to computers, networks, Internet, email, chat rooms, and other forms of technology services and products.

Network is wired and wireless technology networks, including school and district networks, cellular networks, commercial, community or home-based wireless networks accessible to students.

Equipment includes cellular phones, smart phones, PDAs, MP3 players, iPod type devices, and portable computers such as laptops, iPads, Nooks, Chromebooks, desktops, tablets and netbooks, as well as portable storage devices.

Policy Statements

Protection of Users

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law that addresses concerns about access in schools and libraries to the Internet and other information.  Under CIPA, schools and libraries are required to certify that they have certain Internet safety measures in place. These include measures to block or filter pictures that: (a) are obscene, (b) contain child pornography, or (c) when computers with Internet access are used by minors, are harmful to minors.  Schools subject to CIPA are required to adopt a policy to monitor online activities of minors i.e.  (a) access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and the Web; (b) the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications, including but not limited to social networking sites; (c) unauthorized access, including so-called "hacking," and other unlawful activities by minors online; (d) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and (e) restricting minors' access to materials harmful to them.

Schools will annually provide for the educating of minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, cyberbullying awareness, and response.


Bring Your Own Device

Effective at the beginning of 2015-2016 school year, the Blount County Board of Education will implement a Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD). Students may have electronic communication devices and other digital devices in their possession such as iOS devices (MacBooks, iPhones/smart phones, iPads, iWatches/smart watches, iPods), Kindles, Nooks, tablets, Androids, Blackberrys, MP3 players, and laptops to be used for instructional purposes. They must be turned off, charged, and only in use with permission. Students will not be allowed to bring chargers to charge devices. The principal, teacher, or supervising employee may approve the use of personal electronic devices for instructional purposes, after regular school hours, during medical emergencies, natural disasters, or under circumstances in which the use of the devices serves safety and convenience without disrupting academic or school operations.  The principal, teacher, or supervising employee will also have the authority to further restrict the use of personal electronic devices by any student to prevent the misuse, abuse, or violation of school rules regarding the use of such devices.  Electronic communication devices and other digital devices will not be allowed to be present in standardized testing situations based on State Department of Education Policy.

Students and parents must sign a technology contract that outlines the terms of the policy prior to bringing any device.  Neither the Blount County Board of Education nor local schools are responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items as this is a voluntary program.  If students and parents do not agree to the terms, those students will not be allowed to participate in BYOD.  Students will have basic technology available at school necessary to complete lessons and assignments as directed by the teacher.               

The purpose of the BYOD initiative is to enhance instruction and assist students in developing communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills necessary to meet the College and Career Readiness Standards. All devices must use the Blount County Schools’ guest network through Wi-Fi enabled airplane mode rather than a cellular data plan in order to meet Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance. Appropriate authorized use may include the following: research, organization of information into tables and graphs, organization of tasks using calendars, sharing information documents, and making calculations.  Examples of unauthorized use or misuse, for the purpose of this policy, may include (but are not limited to) any of the following: having the device out in class, hallways, restrooms, or lunchrooms, texting, playing games, using apps, visiting websites, taking, posting, and/or sharing photographs and/or video on school campus or on the bus, without the supervising adult’s permission. The consequences for unauthorized use or misuse are outlined below:

First Offense

Take the phone or other electronic device, hold until the parent/guardian comes to the school and meets with an administrator to discuss the policy and the consequences of further violations of the policy.  The parent/guardian will be asked to sign a verification/documentation form of the meeting.


Second Offense

Take the phone or other electronic device, hold for seven (7) school days.  A parent/guardian must pick up the cell phone or other electronic device from an administrator and again sign the verification/documentation form.  The administration may assign detention, in-school suspension or Saturday school to the student.


Third Offense

Take the phone or other electronic device, hold for nine (9) weeks of school.  The student will also be placed in alternative school for three days.


* A disciplinary hearing will be held for any student that continues to violate this policy after the third offense.


**A disciplinary hearing will be held for any student who violates the policy and refuses to give the phone or electronic device to school personnel.



Social Media

Blount County Schools recognizes the value of social media, both for personal and professional use.  However, there are some guidelines that should be addressed when educators use social media. The guidelines and reminders below have been developed to better protect (and inform) BCS employees from charges of inappropriate use.  Teachers should not “friend” students on personal social media.  Teachers should also be judicious about "friending" students' parents on social media.   

Many teachers utilize learning management platforms such as Edmodo to engage and assess 21st Century learners.  


Unacceptable Social Media Use Includes:

  • Updating social media or posting non-instructional content during school hours.  Stakeholders expect BCS’ employees to be working during the school day; posting on social media during this time gives the impression that teachers are not fulfilling their responsibilities to students.
  • Posting pictures with students in them without permission of parents or guardians.
  • Using social media as the sole means of classroom communication.
  • Posting disruptive content which harms the goodwill and reputation of the students, teachers, school, and system.

Communication between teachers, parents, and students should be of an educational/extra-curricular nature and support the vision, mission, and beliefs of BCS.   Other types of personal communication between teachers and students must be avoided.


Technology Acceptable Use

Adult-supervised, technology-enhanced activities which are standards-based and educationally driven and which follow all Blount County Board of Education policies should be deemed as acceptable use by students and adults. Some examples of acceptable and/or responsible use may include, but are not limited to the following: visiting approved educational websites; research; online practice quizzes; educational games; reading/writing website programs; student-learning platforms such as Edmodo, Blackboard, or Moodle; using video-enhanced learning, such as Khan Academy, Ted, or YouTube for educational purposes; educational surveys or student response websites; achievement or performance tracking websites; as well as other educational uses.

Technology Unacceptable Use

Prohibited Activities --The following activities, items, or materials are prohibited: fraudulent, harassing, embarrassing, sexually explicit, profane, obscene, intimidating, defamatory or otherwise unlawful or inappropriate material may not be viewed, sent, posted, or shared through any form of electronic communication (such as bulletin board systems, newsgroups, chat groups), downloaded from the Internet or displayed or stored on BCS’ resources. This includes "Spam" and other non-educational/business related matter. Any user encountering or receiving materials that violate the Blount County Schools’ Responsible Use Policy should immediately report the incident to their teacher or supervisor.

Computer resources may not be used for dissemination or storage of commercial or personal advertisements, solicitations, political material, promotions, religious material, or any other unauthorized significant personal use.  Additionally, users should not attempt to circumvent network security or internet access restrictions, torrent/P2P, or use destructive programs, such as viruses/self-replicating codes. Users should not intentionally damage computers, peripherals, or the network in any way.

Violation of a license agreement or copyright, any state, federal or international law, or waste of computer resources--Users may not deliberately perform acts that waste computer resources or unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of others. These acts include, but are not limited to sending mass mailings or chain letters, non-educational use of computer resources, playing games, engaging in online chat groups, or otherwise creating unnecessary network traffic.

Violation Consequences

Any user who violates this policy may have computer/Internet privileges revoked at any time and without prior notice.   Employee violations of this policy may also result in administrative leave, suspension, and possible termination.  Student users are also subject to discipline according to the Blount County Student Code of Conduct.  Any illegal use will also result in civil and/or criminal liability.