5.5.8 Internet Use and Safety—Administrative Regulation for Students

Internet Use and Safety—Administrative Regulation for Students

i. Internet Safety Objectives and Goals

  1. The San Francisco Unified School District (“District”) provides computers, computer network and Internet Services to students for the specific and limited purpose of achieving the District’s goals and accomplishing its educational purposes.  The District has the right to place restrictions on use to ensure that use of the system is in accordance with its limited educational purpose.

ii. Conditions and Rules for Use

  1. Student users of the District’s telecommunications systems must comply with this Administrative Regulation, related District and school regulations, and the student disciplinary code as set forth in the Student and Family Handbook.  The due process rights of all users will be respected in the event there is a suspicion of inappropriate use of the District Internet system.
  2. Students who use the District Internet system will receive instruction regarding the safe, ethical, legal, and responsible use of the Internet and of the District's Internet system and their rights and responsibilities under this Administrative Regulation.

 iii. Unacceptable Use

The following activities are not acceptable to student users of the SFUSD network by users of District computers including students.  Users of District computers may not produce, distribute, access, use, or store information or engage in any act on the District computers, computer network and Internet services which includes but is not limited to the following: 

  1. Is prohibited by any United States or California Laws or regulations.  This includes, but is not limited to, engaging in unauthorized access including “hacking,” transmitting copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, or material protected by trade secret law, District or school rules;
  2. Is obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, harmful as defined in subdivision (a) Penal Code Section 313, or harmful to minors as defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA P.L. 106-554 – Title XVII – Section 1703[see footnote 1]).
  3. Cyberbullying, which  includes, but is not limited to, transmission of communications or posting of harassing messages, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social networking sites, or other digital technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device.  Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person’s electronic account and assuming that person’s identity in order to damage that person’s reputation.
  4. Would subject the District or the individual to criminal, civil or administrative liability for its use, production, distribution, access or storage (e.g., is fraudulent, defamatory, racist, or denigrates persons based upon protected classifications, constitutes sexual harassment, etc.)
  5. Violates copyright laws;
  6. Allows users of the network to gain unauthorized access to any communications systems, network or file;
  7. Allows another person without valid authorization access to, confidential information contained in the district computer files or any communications systems, network or file;
  8. Intentionally or negligently discloses a user’s password or account number to any person who does not have authorization to view that password or account number;
  9. Discloses personal identification information regarding minors in violation of Board policies, District rules and regulations and state and federal laws;
  10. Use of District computers for personal commercial activities;
  11. Disable the Technology Protection Measures (such as Internet blocking and filtering software) in violation of this Administrative Regulation.

iv. Children’s Internet Protection Act

  1. In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA P.L. 106-554, Title XVII, Section 1702, et seq., (“CIPA”)), the District maintains a Technology Protection Measures for use with the District Internet system.  The Technology Protection Measures are configured to protect against visual access to material that is obscene, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors, as defined by the Children's Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) [See Endnote 1]. 
  2. The Technology Protection Measures may be disabled by an administrator or supervisor for adult use to conduct bona fide research or other lawful purpose.
  3. The Technology Protection Measures may not be disabled at any time that students may be using the District Internet system, if such disabling will cease to protect against access to materials that are prohibited under the Children's Internet Protection Act.
  4. The District retains control over decision-making regarding the appropriateness of material for students at all times. 
  5. The District will ensure that the Technology Protection Measures do not unduly restrict the educational use of the District Internet system by teachers or students and the students’ constitutional rights of access to information and ideas.  The District will unblock access to sites that may have been inappropriately blocked by the Technology Protection Measures.
  6. Any student who believes that the Technology Protection Measures have inappropriately blocked information that they are seeking should bring this matter to the attention of their instructor.  The Instructional Technology Advisory Group (ITAG) will then review this claim and, if necessary, take action within a reasonable time.

v. Supervision and Monitoring

  1. Staff will supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in such a manner that is appropriate to the age of the students and circumstances of use and in accordance with Board Policies, District Administrative Regulation, the Children’s Internet Protection Act and all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. 
  2. The District will monitor use of the Internet through a regular analysis of Internet usage.

vi. Inappropriate Matter

In addition to the implementation of the Technology Protection Measures, the Instructional Technology Advisory Group (ITAG) will review practices and procedures on a continuing basis to ensure continuing compliance by students with the Internet Safety Policy and to assure that access to inappropriate material is blocked.

vii. Classroom Use

Information available on computers, computer networks and the Internet which is used in the classroom should be in compliance with the Board’s policies and District’s procedures governing the selection of instructional materials.  Teachers are expected to use classroom materials and give assignments that are age appropriate and relevant to the course objectives, preview information that will be presented to students, direct students in appropriate research activities, and help students learn to analyze the accuracy of information accessed.  Staff will provide developmentally appropriate guidance to students as they use telecommunications and electronic information resources.  Students will be informed by staff of their responsibilities as users of District computers, computer networks, and Internet services.  Students will be held responsible for complying with all school rules including rules for use of District computers and computer services.  School administrators and teachers will ensure that students using computers are appropriately supervised.  However, schools cannot guarantee that each student will be directly supervised at all times.

viii. Expectation of Privacy

  1. The District is the owner of all relevant hardware and software and asserts its right to review and exercise its ownership at any time by search of the system and its equipment, and any information on it.  There is no expectation of privacy for users of the network.  The District reserves the rights to review, copy, modify, delete or disclose to third parties any material created, saved or accessed under any user account and to monitor, review and inspect any computer files.  Files subject to this provision may reside on any file or e-mail server, computer workstation, backup media, removable media, floppy disk or any other file storage located on District systems to make determinations as to whether specific uses of the network are inappropriate.  Users have no privacy expectations in the contents of their personal files and records stored on District systems or of their online activity stored on District systems while using the District system.
  2. The District may conduct searches of the District media/devices used by students. As a condition of using District technology or devices, the student and parents agree to such searches and monitoring of District systems.

ix. Electronic Communications

  1. Student Email.  Students may be provided with District electronic mail/email accounts, shared classroom accounts for instructional purposes or may be allowed to use personal accounts from non-District providers.  Students will be supervised appropriately and may be monitored at all times in their use of e-mail by staff
  2. No student user may engage in any of the following illegal activities:
    • Student users will not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the District Internet system or to any other computer system through the District system, or go beyond their authorized access.  This includes attempting to log in through another person's account or access another person's files.
    • Student users will not make deliberate attempts to disrupt the computer system performance or destroy data by spreading computer viruses or by any other means. 
    • Student users will not use the District Internet system to engage in any other illegal act, such as arranging for a drug sale or the purchase of alcohol, engaging in criminal gang activity, threatening the safety of a person, etc. 
  3. All student users shall comply with the following Network Etiquette"
  • Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to all speech communicated through the District Internet system, including but not limited to public messages, private messages, and material posted on web pages.
  • Student users will not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language.
  • Student users will not post information that, if acted upon, could cause damage or a danger of disruption.
  • Student users will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks. 
  • Student users will not harass another person.  Harassment is persistently acting in a manner that distresses or annoys another person.  If a user is told by a person to stop sending them messages, they must stop.
  • Student users will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.
  • Student users will not forward a message that was sent to them privately without permission of the person who sent them the message.
  • Student users will not release any personal contact information about themselves or others without obtaining the written consent of the parents/guardians of students, and filing such consent with their instructor.

x. Chat Rooms

The District will control access to chat rooms at all times.  No student may access a chat room without permission of the student’s instructor.

xi. System Security

  1. Student users are responsible for the use of their individual account and should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others from being able to use their account, including protecting the privacy of their password.
  2. Student users will immediately notify the system administrator if they have identified a possible security problem.  Users will not go looking for security problems, because this may be construed as an illegal attempt to gain access.
  3. Student users will avoid the inadvertent spread of computer viruses by following the District virus protection procedures.  

xii. Secured Networks and Confidential Records

Student and employee records on District systems are confidential.  Anyone accessing these records agrees to keep all information in the records confidential and to use it only for legitimate purposes.  Board policies, District regulations and pertinent federal, state and local laws and regulations govern access to student and employee records.

xiii. Privacy and Communication Safety Standards

Student users will abide by the following privacy and communication safety standards when using the District computer systems, including use of email, chat rooms and other forms of direct communication, and the Internet.

  1. It is impermissible to disclose, use or disseminate the personal contact information of another minor student without the written consent of the student’s parent/guardian.  Personal contact information includes the student's name together with other information that would allow an individual to locate the student, including, but not limited to, parent's name, home address or location, work address or location, or phone number.
  2. Student users will not agree to meet with someone they have met online without their parent's approval and participation.
  3. Student users will promptly disclose to their teacher or other school employee any message they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable. 
  4. Student users shall not delete such messages until instructed to do so by a staff member.

xiv. Copyright Management

  1. District staff may post work created by staff on the District Web site to facilitate access by students and/or staff.  Notice of such posting and claim of ownership must be provided by District Administrators.  By posting such work to the District's web site, the staff member grants a non-exclusive license or permission for any staff or student within the District to freely use such work. 
  2. The District will provide instruction to staff and students on their rights and responsibilities with respect to the copyright ownership rights of others.
  3. No material may be disseminated through the District computer systems or posted on the District web site unless that material is original, in the public domain, used in accord with the fair use provisions of copyright law, or is disseminated or posted with permission of the copyright owner.

xv. Copyright Clearance

District policies and existing laws on copyright shall govern materials accessed through District computer networks and the Internet.  To republish text or graphics on the Internet, the Chief Technology Officer or their designee for Internet approval must have written permission from the owner to use any copyright protected work.  In addition, there must be a notice crediting the original producer and noting how and when written permission was granted or printed evidence must be provided to document the material’s public domain status.

xvi. Remote Access

Access to District secured computer networks from locations other than District schools or offices are available only via District-approved secured communication lines and may be authorized only by the Chief Technology Officer.  Any modem attached to a District computer must be approved by the Chief Technology Officer or their designee.  District public information is available via the Internet.  All District policies and procedures shall apply to the District computer systems whether remote or onsite.

xvii. Warranties

The District makes no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, for the computer systems services it is providing.  The District will not be responsible for any damages a user suffers.  This includes loss of data resulting from delays, no-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by the District’s negligence or by the user’s errors or omissions.  The District specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its services.  All users need to consider the source of any information they obtain.

xviii. Limitation of Liability

For students, use of a computer may be required by the District as part of the educational program.  The District accepts no responsibility or liability for access or lack of access to computers, computer networks, or Internet services.  On any computer system, there is a potential for loss of data, interruption of services and inaccurate or unreliable information.  The District makes no warranties for computer services or data, and is not liable for damage to or loss of work on District computers.  The District will not be responsible for financial or other obligations arising from the unauthorized use of District computers, computer networks, or the Internet.

The Internet opens a world of valuable information to students.  However, some information on the Internet may be considered inappropriate for or harmful to young people.  Parents and guardians are advised that the District has no control over information available on the Internet and is limited in its ability to control access to inappropriate information.  Parents/guardians are encouraged to discuss their expectations for appropriate activities on the Internet with their children. 

The District has installed Technology Protection Measures (such as filtering or blocking software) that limits access to material that is obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors; however such software may not adequately protect students from accessing such material or other inappropriate materials.  Any installation or removal of such filtering or blocking software is at the District’s discretion and limited by federal law and does not relieve the computer user of their personal responsibility not to access inappropriate or harmful materials.  Parents/guardians are advised that it may be possible for a student to purchase goods and services through District-owned computer systems for which the student’s parent/guardian may be liable.  The District is not liable for student use of or access to the Internet that is in violation of the District’s rules.

xix. Releasing Your Account

Upon leaving the District (i.e., transfer, graduation, etc.), all student users must inform their system administrator or the Information Services and Technology Department at (415) 241-6476 immediately.  Your account will then be inactive.

xx. Discipline for Violation of Administrative Regulation

  1. The District will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the District Internet system.
  2. Inappropriate use, including any violation of these conditions and rules, may result in disciplinary action.
  3. In the event there is an allegation that a student has violated this Administrative Regulation, the student discipline will be conducted in the manner set forth in the student disciplinary policies and regulations.



[Endnote 1] The following terms are defined by the CIPA and the United States Code:  Obscene, as the term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code.

Child Pornography, as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code.

Harmful to Minors.  The term “harmful to minors” means any picture, image, graphic image file or other visual depiction that:

  1. Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex or excretion;
  2. Depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
  3. Taken as a whole, lacks literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
  4. Sexual Act/ Sexual Contact.  The terms “sexual act” and “sexual contact” have the meanings given such terms in section 2246 of title 18, United States Code.


See the full Handbook and downloadable, translated PDFs at sfusd.edu/Handbook.

This page was last updated on August 16, 2023