Technology Acceptable Use Policy

  • TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTABLE USE                                                             Policy Code: 3225/4312

    1. Expectations for Use of School Technological Resources

    The use of technological systems is a privilege, not a right. Individual users of the school system’s technological resources are responsible for their behavior and communications when using those resources.  Responsible use of school system technological resources is use that is ethical, respectful, academically honest, and supportive of student learning.  Each user has the responsibility to respect others in the school community and on the Internet.  Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette.  General student and employee behavior standards, including those prescribed in applicable board policies, the Code of Student Conduct, and other regulations and school rules, apply to the use of the Internet and other school technological resources.

    In addition, anyone who uses school system computers or electronic devices or who accesses the school network or the Internet using school system resources must comply with the additional rules for responsible use listed in Section B below.  These rules are intended to clarify expectations for conduct but should not be construed as all-inclusive.

    Before using the Internet, all students must be trained about appropriate online behavior as provided in policy 3226/4205, Internet Safety.

    All students and employees must be informed annually of the requirements of this policy and the methods by which they may obtain a copy of this policy.  Before using the school system's technological resources, students and employees must sign a statement indicating that they understand and will strictly comply with these requirements and acknowledging awareness that the school system uses monitoring systems to monitor and detect inappropriate use of technological resources.  Failure to adhere to these requirements will result in disciplinary action, including revocation of user privileges.  Willful misuse may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal law.


    1. Rules for Use of School Technological Resources


    1. School system technological resources are provided for school-related purposes only. Acceptable uses of such technological resources are limited to responsible, efficient, and legal activities that support learning and teaching. Use of school system technological resources for commercial gain or profit is prohibited. Students' personal use of school system technological resources for amusement or entertainment is also prohibited.  Because some incidental and occasional personal use by employees is inevitable, the board permits infrequent and brief personal use by employees so long as it occurs on personal time, does not interfere with school system business, and is not otherwise prohibited by board policy or procedure.
    2. Under no circumstances may software purchased by the school system be copied for personal use.
    3. Students and employees must comply with all applicable laws, including those relating to copyrights and trademarks, confidential information, and public records. Any use that violates state or federal law is strictly prohibited. Plagiarism of Internet resources will be treated in the same manner as any other incidents of plagiarism, as stated in the Code of Student Conduct.
    4. No user of technological resources, including a person sending or receiving electronic communications, may engage in creating, intentionally viewing, accessing, downloading, storing, printing, or transmitting images, graphics (including still or moving pictures), sound files, text files, documents, messages or other material that is obscene, defamatory, profane, pornographic, harassing or considered to be harmful to minors.
    5. The use of anonymous proxies to circumvent content filtering is prohibited.
    6. Users may not install or use any Internet-based file-sharing program designed to facilitate sharing of copyrighted material.
    7. Users of technological resources may not send electronic communications fraudulently (i.e., by misrepresenting the identity of the sender).
    8. Users must respect the privacy of others.  When using e-mail, chat rooms, blogs, or other forms of electronic communication, students must not reveal personal identifying information or information that is private or confidential, such as the home address or telephone number, credit or checking account information, or social security number of themselves or fellow students.  For further information regarding what constitutes personal identifying information, see policy 4705/7825, Confidentiality of Personal Identifying Information.  In addition, school employees must not disclose on school system websites or web pages or elsewhere on the Internet any personally identifiable, private, or confidential information concerning students (including names, addresses, or pictures) without the written permission of a parent or guardian or an eligible student, except as otherwise permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or policy 4700, Student Records.  Users also may not forward or post personal communications without the author’s prior consent.
    9. Users may not intentionally or negligently damage computers, computer systems, electronic devices, software, computer networks, or data of any user connected to school system technology.  Users may not knowingly or negligently transmit computer viruses or self-replicating messages or deliberately try to degrade or disrupt system performance.  Users must scan any downloaded files for viruses.
    10. Users may not create or introduce games, network communications programs, or any foreign program or software onto any school system computer, electronic device, or network without the express permission of the technology director or designee. 
    11. Users are prohibited from engaging in unauthorized or unlawful activities, such as “hacking” or using the computer network to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized or unlawful access to other computers, computer systems, or accounts.
    12. Users are prohibited from using another individual’s ID or password for any technological resource without permission from the individual.  Students must also have permission from the teacher or other school officials.
    13. Users may not read, alter, change, block, execute, or delete files or communications belonging to another user without the owner’s express prior permission.
    14. Employees shall not use passwords or user IDs for any data system (e.g., the state student information and instructional improvement system applications, time-keeping software, etc.) for an unauthorized or improper purpose.
    15. If a user identifies a security problem on a technological resource, he or she must immediately notify a system administrator.  Users must not demonstrate the problem to other users.  Any user identified as a security risk will be denied access.
    16. Teachers shall make reasonable efforts to supervise students’ use of the Internet during instructional time. 
    17. Views may be expressed on the Internet or other technological resources as representing the view of the school system or part of the school system only with prior approval by the superintendent or designee.



    The Internet and electronic communications offer fluid environments in which students may access or be exposed to materials and information from diverse and rapidly changing sources, including some that may be harmful to students.  The board recognizes that it is impossible to predict with certainty what information on the Internet students may access or obtain.  Nevertheless, school system personnel shall take reasonable precautions to prevent students from accessing material and information that is obscene, pornographic, or otherwise harmful to minors, including violence, nudity, or graphic language that does not serve a legitimate pedagogical purpose.  The superintendent shall ensure that technology protection measures are used as provided in policy 3226/4205, Internet Safety, and are disabled or minimized only when permitted by law and board policy.  The board is not responsible for the content accessed by users who connect to the Internet via their personal mobile telephone technology (e.g., 3G, 4G service).


    The board recognizes that parents of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards their children should follow when using media and information sources.  Accordingly, before a student may independently access the Internet, the student’s parents must be made aware of the possibility that the student could obtain access to inappropriate material while engaged in the independent use of the Internet.  The parent and student must consent to the student’s independent access to the Internet and to the monitoring of the student’s Internet activity and e-mail communication by school personnel. 

    In addition, in accordance with the board’s goals and visions for technology, students may require accounts in third-party systems for school-related projects designed to assist students in mastering effective and proper online communications or to meet other educational goals.  Parental permission will be obtained when necessary to create and manage such third-party accounts.

    1. PRIVACY

    Students, employees, visitors, and other users have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, delete, receive, or display when using the school system’s network, devices, Internet access, email system, or other technological resources owned or issued by the school system, whether the resources are used at school or elsewhere, and even if the use is for personal purposes.  Users should not assume that files or communications created, transmitted, or displayed using school system technological resources or stored on servers or on the storage mediums of individual devices will be private.  The school system may, without notice, (1) monitor, track, and/or log network access, communications, and use; (2) monitor and allocate file server space; and (3) access, review, copy, store, delete, or disclose the content of all user files, regardless of medium, the content of electronic mailboxes, and system outputs, such as printouts, for any lawful purpose.  Such purposes may include, but are not limited to, maintaining system integrity, security, or functionality, ensuring compliance with board policy and applicable laws and regulations, protecting the school system from liability, and complying with public records requests.  School system personnel shall monitor the online activities of individuals who access the Internet via a school-owned device.

    By using the school system’s network, Internet access, email system, devices, or other technological resources, individuals consent to have that use monitored by authorized school system personnel as described in this policy.


    Each principal may establish rules for his or her school site as to whether and how personal technology devices (including but not limited to smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) may be used on campus.  Students’ devices are also governed by policy 4318, Use of Wireless Communication Devices.  The school system assumes no responsibility for personal technology devices brought to school.


    The superintendent may use any means available to request the removal of personal websites that substantially disrupt the school environment or that utilize the school system or individual school names, logos, or trademarks without permission.

    1. Students

    Though school personnel generally do not monitor students' Internet activity conducted on non-school system computers during non-school hours, when the student's online behavior has a direct and immediate effect on school safety or maintaining order and discipline in the schools, the student may be disciplined in accordance with board policy (see the student behavior policies in the 4300 series).

    1. Employees

    Employees’ personal websites are subject to policy 7335, Employee Use of Social Media

    1. Volunteers

    Volunteers are to maintain an appropriate relationship with students at all times. Volunteers are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on volunteer personal websites or online networking profiles in order to prevent the possibility that students could view material that are not age-appropriate. An individual volunteer’s relationship with the school system may be terminated if the volunteer engages in inappropriate online interaction with students.

    Legal References:  U.S. Const. amend. I; Children's Internet Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5); Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 17 U.S.C. 101et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 7131; G.S. 115C-325(e), (applicable to career status teachers), -325.4(applicable to non-career status teachers

    Cross References:  Curriculum and Instructional Guides (policy 3115), Technology in the Educational Program (policy 3220), Internet Safety (policy 3226/4205), Copyright Compliance (policy 3230/7330), Web Page Development (3227/7322), Student Behavior Policies (all policies in the 4300 series), Student Records (policy 4700), Confidentiality of Personal Identifying Information (policy 4705/7825), Public Records - Retention, Release, and Disposition (policy 5070/7350), Use of Equipment, Materials, and Supplies (policy 6520), Network Security (policy 6524), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Employee Use of Social Media (policy 7335)

    Adopted: January 4, 1999

    Revised: September 8, 2003, October 3, 2005, July 7, 2009, July 13, 2011, February 22, 2012, June 30, 2015, May 14, 2018




    Students enrolled in Harnett County Schools will have access to several web-based resources that will enhance their educational experience. Examples of such resources are Google Apps (including Gmail), Edmodo (, DropBox (, and EverNote (

    Some websites require that children under 13 years of age have parental consent for membership in these sites. YOUR SIGNATURE OF THE STUDENT HANDBOOK INDICATES YOUR CONSENT FOR YOUR CHILD TO HAVE MEMBERSHIP IN THE WEBSITES THAT ARE APPROVED AND ENDORSED BY HARNETT COUNTY SCHOOLS. (The approved list can be found on the Harnett County Schools website.)  Classroom teachers may seek consent for other websites not covered under this agreement. Such consent will be sought on a case-by-case basis by the individual teacher. Each parent/guardian will be offered the opportunity to “opt-out” of such resources.



    NETWORK SECURITY                                                                                              Policy Code:  6524

    The school system's computers, networks, and other technological resources support the educational and administrative functions of the school system.  Because employees and students depend on these systems to assist with teaching and learning and because sensitive and confidential information may be stored on these systems, system integrity and security is of the utmost importance.


    The school system's information technology systems are valuable assets that must be protected.  To this end, school technology personnel shall evaluate each information technology asset and assign protective controls that are commensurate with the established value of such assets.  Appropriate security measures must be in place to protect all information technology assets from accidental or unauthorized use, theft, modification, or destruction and to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of restricted information.  Network security measures must include an information technology system for the disaster recovery process.  Audits of security measures must be conducted annually.

    All personnel shall ensure the protection and security of information technology assets that are under their control.


    The technology director or designee shall provide employees with information to enhance awareness regarding technology security threats and to educate them about appropriate safeguards, network security, and information security.


    Malware detection programs and practices must be implemented throughout the school system.  The superintendent or designee is responsible for ensuring that the school system network includes current software to prevent the introduction or propagation of computer malware.


    Users should be trained as necessary to use technological resources effectively and in a manner that maintains the security of the network infrastructure and ensures compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.  Such training should include information related to remote access, virus protection, state student information, instructional improvement system applications, network and information security, and other topics deemed necessary by the superintendent or technology director.  Training may be conducted as part of the technology-related professional development program (see policy 3220, Technology in the Educational Program).


    Access to the school system’s information technology assets will be controlled and managed to ensure that only authorized devices/persons have access.

    1. User ID and Password

    All users of information technology systems must be properly identified and authenticated before being allowed to access such systems.  The combination of unique user identification and a valid password is the minimum requirement for granting access to information technology systems.  Depending on the operating environment, the information involved, and exposure risks, additional or more stringent security practices may be required as determined by the superintendent or technology director.  The technology director or designee shall establish password management capabilities and procedures to ensure the security of passwords.

    1. Student Information System

    The technology director or designee shall ensure that all school system computers with access to the state student information system application pursuant to State Board of Education Policy SBOP-018 adhere to relevant standards and requirements established by the State Board of Education, including provisions related to the user identification, password, and workstation security standards.  Employees must follow such standards when using any computer to access the student information system, including when using the employee's personal computer.

    1. Remote Access

    The superintendent and technology director may grant remote access to authorized users of the school system's computer systems.  The technology director or designee shall ensure that such access is provided through secure, authenticated, and carefully managed access methods.

    Legal References:  G.S. 115C-523, -524; State Board of Education Policy SBOP-018

    Cross References:  Professional and Staff Development (policy 1610/7800), Technology in the Educational Program (policy 3220), Technology Acceptable Use (policy 3225/4312/7320), Internet Safety (policy 3226/4205), School Improvement Plan (policy 3430), Use of Equipment, Materials, and Supplies (policy 6520)

    Other References:  State of North Carolina Statewide Information Security Manual (Enterprise Security and Risk Management Office), available at

    Adopted:  July 9, 2009

    Revised:  July 13, 2011; February 4, 2019



    USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICES                                                      Policy Code:  4318 

    The board recognizes that cellular phones have become an important tool through which people communicate with their children.  Therefore, students are permitted to possess such devices on school property so long as such devices are not activated, used, displayed, or visible during the instructional day or as otherwise directed by school rules or school personnel.  Wireless communication devices include but are not limited to, cellular phones, electronic devices with an internet capability, paging devices, two-way radios, and similar devices.


    Administrators may authorize individual students to use wireless communication devices for personal purposes when there is a reasonable need for such communication.  Teachers and administrators may authorize individual students to use the devices for instructional purposes provided that they supervise the students during such use.

    Although use is generally permitted before and after school, the use of cellular phones and other wireless communication devices may be prohibited on school buses when noise from such devices interferes with the safe operation of the buses.  In addition, elementary and middle school students who participate in after-school programs are prohibited from using wireless communication devices for the duration of such programming.


    School employees may immediately confiscate any wireless communication device that is on, used, displayed, or visible in violation of this policy.  Absent compelling and unusual circumstances, confiscated wireless communication devices will be returned only to the student's parents or guardians.

    The disciplinary consequences for violations of this policy will be consistent with section D of policy 4300, Student Behavior Policies. The superintendent or designee shall list in the Code of Student Conduct the specific range of consequences that may be imposed on a student for violations of this policy. The following factors should be considered when determining appropriate consequences of whether the wireless communication devices were used: (1) to reproduce images of tests, to obtain unauthorized access to school information, or to assist students in any aspect of their instructional program in a manner that violates any school board policy, administrative regulation or school rule;  (2) to bully or harass other students  (3) to send illicit text messages (4) to take and/or send illicit photographs; or (5) In any other manner that would make more severe disciplinary consequences appropriate.


    Students are personally and solely responsible for the security of their wireless communication devices.  The school system is not responsible for the theft, loss, or damage of a cellular phone or any other personal wireless communication device.

    Legal References:  G.S. 115C-36, -390.2

    Cross References:  School Plan for Management of Student Behavior (policy 4302) Student Behavior Policies (policy 4300), Disruptive Behavior (policy 4315) Student Searches (policy 4342)

    Adopted:  July 7, 2009

    Revised:  September 10, 2018