STAFF USE OF COMPUTERIZED INFORMATION RESOURCES
The Board will provide staff with access to various computerized information resources through the District’s computer system (DCS hereafter) consisting of software, hardware, computer networks and electronic communication systems. This may include access to electronic mail, so-called “on-line services” and the “Internet.” It may also include the opportunity for some staff to have independent access to the DCS from their home or other remote locations. All use of the DCS, including independent use off school premises, will be subject to this policy and accompanying regulations.
The Board encourages staff to make use of the DCS to explore educational topics, conduct research and contact others in the educational world. The Board anticipates that staff access to various computerized information resources will both expedite and enhance the performance of tasks associated with their positions and assignments. Toward that end, the Board directs the Superintendent or designee(s) to provide staff with training in the proper and effective use of the DCS.
Staff use of the DCS is conditioned upon written agreement by the staff member that use of the DCS will conform to the requirements of this policy and any regulations adopted to ensure acceptable use of the DCS. All such agreements will be kept on file in the District office.
Generally, the same standards of acceptable staff conduct which apply to any aspect of job performance will apply to use of the DCS. Employees are expected to communicate in a professional manner consistent with applicable District policies and regulations governing the behavior of school staff. Electronic mail and telecommunications are not to be utilized to share confidential information about students or other employees.
This policy does not attempt to articulate all required and/or acceptable uses of the DCS; nor is it the intention of this policy to define all inappropriate usage. Administrative regulations will further define general guidelines of appropriate staff conduct and use as well as proscribed behavior.
District staff will also adhere to the laws, policies and rules governing computers including, but not limited to, copyright laws, rights of software publishers, license agreements, and rights of privacy created by federal and state law.
Staff members who engage in unacceptable use may lose access to the DCS and may be subject to further discipline under the law and in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements. Legal action may be initiated against a staff member who willfully, maliciously or unlawfully damages or destroys property of the District.
Staff data files and electronic storage areas will remain District property, subject to District control and inspection. The Computer Coordinator may access all such files and communications without prior notice to ensure system integrity and that users are complying with requirements of this policy and accompanying regulations. Staff should NOT expect that information stored on the DCS will be private.
Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this policy, addressing general parameters of acceptable staff conduct as well as prohibited activities so as to provide appropriate guidelines for employee use of the DCS.
USE OF EMAIL IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Electronic mail or email is a valuable business communication tool, and users will use this tool in a responsible, effective and lawful manner. Every employee/authorized user has a responsibility to maintain the District’s image and reputation, to be knowledgeable about the inherent risks associated with email usage and to avoid placing the District at risk. Although email seems to be less formal than other written communication, the same laws and business records requirements apply. District employees/authorized users will use the District’s designated email system, such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange, for all business email, including emails in which students or student issues are involved.
All employees and authorized users will acknowledge annually and follow the District’s policies and regulations on acceptable use of computerized information resources, including email usage.
Classified and Confidential
District employees and authorized users may not:
a) Provide lists or information about District employees or students to others and/or classified information without approval. Questions regarding usage should be directed to a principal/supervisor.
b) Forward emails with confidential, sensitive, or secure information without principal/supervisor authorization. Additional precautions should be taken when sending documents of a confidential nature.
c) Use file names that may disclose confidential information. Confidential files should be password protected and encrypted, if possible. File protection passwords will not be communicated via email correspondence in any event.
d) Send or forward email with comments or statements about the District that may negatively impact it.
Employees and authorized users may use the District’s email system for limited personal use. However, there is no expectation of privacy in email use. Personal use should not include chain letters, junk mail, and jokes. Employees and authorized users will not use the District’s email programs to conduct job searches, post personal information to bulletin boards, blogs. chat groups and list services, etc. without specific permission from the principal/supervisor. The District’s email system will not be used for personal gain or profit.
All email accounts on the District’s system are the property of the District. Employees and authorized users will not access any other email account or system (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) via the District’s network. Personal accounts and instant messaging will not be used to conduct official business.
Receiving Unacceptable Mail
Employees and authorized users who receive offensive, unpleasant, harassing or intimidating messages via email or instant messaging will inform their principal/supervisor immediately.
Records Management and Retention
Retention of email messages are covered by the same retention schedules as records in other formats, but are of a similar program function or activity. Email will be maintained in accordance with the NYS Records Retention and Disposition Schedule ED-1 and as outlined in the Records Management Policy. Email records may consequently be deleted, purged or destroyed after they have been retained for the requisite time period established in the ED-1 schedule.
Archival of Email
All email sent and received to an employee’s email account should be archived by the District for a period of no less than six years. This time period was determined based on the possibility of emails that are the official copy of a record according to schedule ED-1. Depending on the District’s archival system, employees may have access to view their personal archive, including deleted email.
Employees/authorized users should receive regular training on the following topics:
a) The appropriate use of email with students, parents and other staff to avoid issues of harassment and/or charges of fraternization.
b) Confidentiality of emails.
c) Permanence of email: email is never truly deleted, as the data can reside in many different places and in many different forms.
d) No expectation of privacy: email use on District property is NOT to be construed as private.
The Computer Coordinator may report inappropriate use of email by an employee/authorized user to the employee/authorized user’s principal/supervisor who will take appropriate disciplinary action. Violations may result in a loss of email use, access to the technology network and/or other disciplinary action. When applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.
All employees/authorized users will be required to access a copy of the District’s policies on staff and student use of computerized information resources and the regulations established in connection with those policies. Each user will acknowledge this employee/designated user agreement before establishing an account or continuing in his or her use of email.
A standard Confidentiality Notice will automatically be added to each email as determined by the District.
EMPLOYEE PERSONNEL RECORDS AND RELEASE OF INFORMATION
Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this policy to maintain a personnel file for each teacher, administrator and support staff member employed by the District.
Regulations and procedures will be developed addressing the inspection by District employees of their personnel files.
Release of Personnel Information
All steps should be taken to protect the privacy of the employees of the District. To ensure the individual’s privacy, directory or confidential information should not be shared with a third party except in the following situations:
a) When members of the Board need information from the employee’s personnel record to aid them in performing their legal responsibilities in such matters as appointments, assignments, promotions, demotions, remuneration, discipline, dismissal or to aid in the development and implementation of personnel policies.
b) When the employee grants permission.
Procedures for obtaining consent for release of records to third parties will be developed by the administration.
Release of Information Concerning Former Employees
The District will not release information concerning the employment records, personnel file or past performance of a former employee, unless such information is required to be disclosed by law. Only the initial and final dates of employment and the position held will be provided through a written response to a written request. The former employee may authorize the release of any additional information.
Public Officers Law Section 87
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 84
The Board recognizes the right of its employees, as citizens, to engage in political activities and to exercise their constitutionally-protected rights to address matters of public concern.
However, a District employee’s constitutional rights to raise matters of public concern are limited when the speech or action occurs on school grounds and/or during school times. When such speech or action occurs on school grounds and/or during school time, the Board can impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of the speech or action, and can further regulate the content of such speech when it materially imperils the efficient operation of the school.
Teachers may not use their classrooms or school surroundings as a means to promote their personal political views and beliefs. However, teachers are encouraged to address issues of current events for their instructional and informational value to students, to invite public and/or political figures to visit the classroom as a community resource, and to motivate students to participate in the political process.
Solicitations by Staff
Staff members will not be engaged in advertising or commercial solicitations on school time, except as authorized by the Superintendent and/or designee.
The legal status for negotiations is the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Law (Taylor Law), Civil Service Law Article 14.
Organizations recognized for the purposes of collective bargaining include:
a) Pine Bush Teachers’ Association (Teachers);
b) Pine Bush Administrators’ Association (Administrators);
c) Pine Bush School Related Personnel Association (Teaching Assistants and School Monitors);
d) United Service Workers Union (USWU), Local 74 (food service; clerical; operations and maintenance).
THEFT OF SERVICES OR PROPERTY
The theft of services or property from the District by an employee will result in immediate disciplinary action that can lead to dismissal or other penalty, and will not preclude the filing of criminal or civil charges by the District.
A District employee called for jury duty will receive his or her full day’s pay from the District plus mileage from the State. No employee will be entitled to receive the per diem allowance from the Unified Court System for any regularly scheduled workday on which jury duty is rendered if on such a day his or her wages are not withheld on account of such service.
Judiciary Law Section 521(b)