Pasco schools to ask students, parents to sign 'digital citizenship' rules
Pasco County public school students have faced increasing requirements to behave properly in the digital world, since the district began letting them use their own cell phones and other electronic devices in classrooms five years ago.
School Board members worried back then about children using technology for disruptive, rather than academic, purposes. District leaders responded by saying it would be better to teach proper behavior than to keep banning the ubiquitous machines.
Fast forward to the present day, and district officials are now suggesting that digital learning has become so prevalent that the time has come to commemorate it in the Student Code of Conduct. For the first time, the staff is recommending that students and parents sign a document acknowledging their understanding of how to use -- and not use -- technology in schools.
"We're just pushing a little bit harder at this because digital is becoming so immense," information technology director John Simon said. "It's been on the drawing board for a number of years."
The document, which School Board members will review on Tuesday, asks students to agree to be responsible digitial citizens by doing such things as:
• I will not damage equipment, upload harmful files, damage files, delete files, or access someone elseʼs account or files because it impacts others.
• I will keep my password to myself and will not share it with others.
• I will not search for or try to access obscene, harmful, or inappropriate material.
• If I accidentally access inappropriate materials, I will close the window and tell a responsible adult.
• I will not post or send hurtful, offensive or inappropriate material.
• I will not post or share pictures of others without their knowledge and approval.
The district also is creating a lesson on this subject for all students to review at the start of the school year. As children use the new Canvas online lesson system, as well as gain access to a growing number of digital resources, Simon said, "It's a necessity that we make this part of our digital curriculum."
Along with this document, Simon said, the district will begin issuing all students a free district email account, accessible through Office 365. That way students will be able to register for the rising amount of online content that their schools are using.
If the board approves this step, parents should look for this information during registration for the new school year later this summer.