(REVISED 8/2011)

Acceptable Use and Guidelines for the Internet, Division Networks, Computers, and Related Technology and Communications Resources

Hampton City Schools provides a computer system including access to the Internet, to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. The term computer system includes hardware, software, data, communication lines and devices, terminals, printers, CD/DVD devices, PDAs, phones, cameras, projectors, multimedia devices, storage devices, servers, workstations, personal computers, the Internet and other internal or external networks. This includes any other devices that may be used to connect to the HCS network or electronically store HCS material.

All use of the Division’s computer system must be (1) in support of education and/or research, or (2) for legitimate school business. Use of the computer system is a privilege, not a right. Any communication or material used on the computer system may be monitored or read by school officials. Students shall have no expectation of privacy for use of HCS-owned computer systems or electronic devices.

The Superintendent will assure that Internet Use Guidelines are provided to parents. Students and parents are expected to execute a form acknowledging the obligation to abide by this Acceptable Use Policy.

The School Board will review, amend if necessary, and approve this policy at a minimum of every two years. Part I. 

Terms and Conditions

1. Acceptable Use - The purpose of Internet service to schools is to support research and education in and among academic institutions by providing access to unique resources and the opportunity for collaborative work. The use of this access must be in support of and consistent with the educational objectives of the Hampton City School Division. Use of other organizations’ networks or computing resources via the HCS computer system must comply with the rules appropriate for that external network provided they do not conflict with Hampton City Schools policies or applicable state or federal laws. In such cases, Hampton City Schools policies and applicable laws will supersede those of external networks.

2. Privileges - The use of the Internet/Intranet is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use may result in cancellation of those privileges and in appropriate disciplinary action as determined by Hampton City School division policy, or legal action. It is the user’s responsibility to know and follow the HCS Technology Acceptable Use Policies.

3. Unacceptable Use - Each user is responsible for his or her actions on the computer system. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Using the network for any illegal or unauthorized activity, including violation of copyright or contracts, or transmitting any material in violation of any federal, state or local law.
  • Sending, receiving, viewing or downloading illegal material via the computer system. 
  • Downloading of unauthorized software. 
  • Using the computer system for private financial or commercial purposes. 
  • Using the computer system for product advertisement or political campaigning.
  • Using resources wastefully, such as file space. 
  • Gaining unauthorized access to resources or entities. 
  • Posting material created by another without his or her consent. 
  • Submitting, posting, publishing, or displaying any obscene, profane, threatening, illegal or other inappropriate material. 
  • Using the computer system while access privileges are suspended or revoked. 
  • Vandalizing the computer system, including destroying data by creating or spreading viruses or by other means.
  • Intimidating, harassing, or coercing others. 
  • Threatening illegal or immoral acts.

4. Network Etiquette (Netiquette) - Each user is expected to be polite and abide by generally accepted rules of etiquette, including the following:

  • Users shall not forge, intercept or interfere with electronic mail message.
  • Users shall not appropriate language.  The use of obscene, lewd, profane, lascivious, threatening or disrespectful language is prohibited.
  • Users shall not post personal information other than directory information about themselves or others.
  • Users shall respect the computer system's resources limits.
  • Users shall not post chain letters or download large files.
  • Users shall not use the computer system to disrupt others.
  • Users shall not modify or delete data owned by others.

5. Liabilities - The Hampton City School Division makes no warranties for the computer system it provides. The Hampton City School Division shall not be responsible for any damages to the user from use of the computer system, including loss of data, non- delivery or missed delivery of information, or service interruptions. The School Division denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through the computer system. Each student or parent, as applicable, agrees to indemnify the Hampton City School Division for any losses, costs or damages incurred relating to or arising out of any violation of these procedures.

6. Security - Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the item involves many users. If a student identifies a security problem on the Internet, the student must notify a supervising teacher or administrator. The student should not demonstrate the problem to other users. The student should not use another individual's account. Attempts to log on to the network or computer system using another’s login credentials will result in cancellation of user privileges and appropriate disciplinary action.

A student should never share his/her password or account with anyone. Each student has full responsibility for the use of his/her account and may be held responsible for any policy violations that are traced to his/her account.

7. Vandalism - Vandalism of division property will result in cancellation of privileges and appropriate disciplinary action. Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm or destroy hardware, software or data. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creation of computer viruses.

8. Charges - The School Division assumes no responsibility for any unauthorized charges or fees as a result of using the computer system, including telephone or long-distance charges.

9. Electronic Mail - The School Division’s electronic mail is owned and controlled by the School Division. The School Division may provide electronic mail to aid students in fulfilling his/her duties and as an education tool. Electronic mail is not private. Students’ electronic mail will be monitored and accessed by the School Division. Unauthorized access to an electronic mail account by any student is prohibited. Users shall be held personally liable for the content of any electronic message they create. Downloading any file attached to an electronic message is prohibited unless the user is certain of that message’s authenticity and the nature of the file.

10. Enforcement – Software will be installed on the Division’s computers having Internet access to filter or block Internet access through such computers to child pornography and obscenity. The online activities of users may also be monitored. Any violation of these regulations shall result in loss of computer system privileges and may also result in appropriate disciplinary action, as determined by School Board policy, or legal action.

Part II. Website External Links Policy

Hampton City Schools is a public agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such, the School Division must avoid any impropriety,or appearance of impropriety, in terms of the external links available on its school websites. An external link takes the user beyond school division websites in order to provide convenient access to other resources available on the Internet. While external links are discouraged, there are links that support the mission of Hampton City Schools. Any reference obtained from the Hampton City Schools web server service to any non-government entity, product, service or information does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Hampton City Schools or any of its departments or employees. Hampton City Schools is not responsible for the contents of any “off-site” web pages referenced from HCS servers.

Part III. Student Responsibilities

1. Instant Messaging, chat rooms, blogging, e-mail and any other methods of communication must

        be under teacher direction and supervision.

2. Students must exercise appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals

        and posting on social networking websites, and in chat rooms. Cyberbullying is an example of 

        inappropriate online behavior that is prohibited. If cyberbullying is identified by a student, it must

        be reported to the supervising teacher or an administrator.

3. All websites visited must be at the direction and supervision of the teacher. 

4. All equipment is the property of HCS. Any theft or acts of vandalism will be prosecuted. 

5. Students may not install or download software unless directed by the teacher. 

6. Students may not alter or modify software in any way. 

7. Students may be held responsible for damage and/or neglect. 

8. Peripherals may be connected only at the direction of the teacher. 

9. Students shall respect other students’ and adults’ privacy (e.g., login, password, documents) 

10. Hampton City Schools’ networks, hardware and software are to be used for instructional purposes only. 

11. Copyright laws will be followed. 

12. Students will not divulge any personal or confidential information about themselves. 

13. Students will not use the network in such a way that it would disrupt the use of the network by other users. 

14. Hampton City Schools has an industry-standard Internet filter in place to monitor content. The filter blocks sites

that HCS deems inappropriate. It is the user’s responsibility to discontinue connections to questionable sites and report them to the supervising teacher or administrator.

15. It is unlawful to use the division’s computer equipment and/or communications services for sending, receiving, viewing or downloading material described below, via the Internet:

     a. Child pornography as set out in Va. Code §18.2-374.1:1 or as defined in 18 U.S.C. §2256:; 

     b. Obscenity as defined by Va. Code §18.2-372 or 18 U.S.C. §1460; and 

     c. Material that the school division deems to be harmful to juveniles as defined in Va. Code 

         §18.2-390, material that is harmful to minors as defined in 47 U.S.C. §254(h)(7)(G), and 

         material that is otherwise inappropriate for minors;. 

16. Students must not attempt to gain unauthorized access to systems management, or server 

       administration areas of any HCS networks. 

17. Any violations of the use of the LAN/WAN/Internet by a student should be reported to the 

       supervising teacher or technology facilitator administrator.

Consequences are outlined in the current HCS Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

Adopted: 3/4/98

Revised: 6/21/00, 12/19/01, 7/3/07, 8/3/11

LEGAL REF.: Code of Virginia, as amended, § 22.1-70.2




Hampton City Schools, Hampton, Virginia