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Acceptable Use of Technology Policy

The Pingry experience is based on mutual respect and personal integrity. All members of the community are expected to honor the rights of others, to conduct themselves at all times in a moral and decent manner, and to see this responsibility as an integral part of their lives at Pingry and as citizens of a global community. The foundation of this belief is Pingry’s Honor Code, which, since 1926, has set the ethical standard that underlies every dimension of school life.

Statement on the Honor Code, Student Handbook, p. 86

The Pingry School’s Honor Code and Code of Conduct set the standard of behavior for all members of The Pingry School—students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and parents. These codes are not meant to be a system of rules and regulations, but rather a guide for living an ethical life. A true understanding of the codes informs all aspects of our lives, and so these codes should be at the core of good decision making whether we are in school or away from school. When we engage in the use of technology, the moral and ethical standards established by the Honor Code and Code of Conduct guide us in its appropriate use. In the online environment, our actions reach far beyond the walls of The Pingry School, and the consequences of these actions may have far-reaching effects. Responsible use of all technology and social media dictates that members of the community should not engage in any activity, at any time or any place, which does not reflect well on them or on this institution.

Scope

This policy applies to all members of the Pingry community, as defined by the users definition below. On the Basking Ridge Campus, advisors will review the policy with their advisees at the beginning of each academic year. In the Lower School, homeroom teachers will review the Acceptable Use Policy with their students and a section of the Code of Conduct, signed by all students, will refer to this policy.

Definitions

  • Users are members of the Pingry community—the students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, parents, volunteers, adjuncts, coaches, trustees, and others.
  • The Pingry School Technology Services comprises all hardware and software tools that The Pingry School provides to its users to support academic and administrative activities. This includes all hardware (computers, printers, classroom A/V, copiers, phones, networking equipment, storage media, displays, etc.), digital resources (WiFi, network storage space, databases, servers, etc.), all services running on Pingry-owned servers (Moodle, Blackbaud, etc), as well as various other services provided, but not hosted, by the school, including, but not limited to, Google Apps for Education and the Pingry website.
  • Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks (which includes recognizable signs, designs or expressions which identify and differentiate a product or service of a particular source from those of others), industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.

A. Expectations

Access to Pingry Technology Services is a privilege intended to facilitate education, school-related communication, research, and other school business. Pingry reserves the right to limit or prohibit user access to services in its efforts to maximize network use for academic purposes or as a result of violation of the Acceptable Use Policy.

  1. All users are responsible for appropriate use of The Pingry School Technology Services.
  2. All faculty, students, staff, administrators, coaches, and adjuncts must use their Pingry email accounts rather than their own personal email accounts for Pingry-related communication.
  3. All users should maintain personal email accounts for non-school related business.
  4. Users must register personally owned computers and personal devices in order to connect any such computer or device to The Pingry School network. This includes both wired connections and WiFi.
  5. Devices connected to The Pingry School network are required to meet security requirements, as determined by the Director of Educational and Information Technology. Devices not meeting these requirements will be restricted from the network.
  6. All computers and personal devices owned by individual members of the community and used on school grounds are subject to this policy regardless of their connection to the Pingry network.
  7. Pingry databases that secure information about academic life, community members, and school business are the property of The Pingry School. Information contained therein is proprietary and confidential and can neither be distributed nor used for personal gain. Pingry reserves the right to restrict access to such databases.
  8. Using technology for illegal activities, including but not limited to drug or alcohol related activities; threatening the safety of another; vandalism; libel; gambling; promoting a pyramid scheme; distributing obscenities; receiving, transmitting, or possessing child pornography (e.g. sexting); infringing copyrights; making threats—are strictly forbidden and may be reported to the authorities.

B. Responsible Use of Pingry Technology Services

  1. Engaging in any activity that threatens the integrity of Pingry Technology Services is prohibited. This includes both physical and electronic tampering.
  2. Personal networking equipment such as servers, routers, switches, hubs, and wireless access points are not permitted on The Pingry School network without approval of the Technology Department.
  3. Unauthorized or inappropriate access to password-protected data, intentionally damaging computers, technology peripherals, or computer networks is subject to disciplinary and/or legal action. Suspected abuse of network systems should be reported immediately to the Director of Educational and Information Technology, the Dean of Students, or other administrator.
  4. Users must not attempt to fix, reconfigure, disconnect, or relocate any of the School’s equipment, including data ports, printers, computers, wireless access points, peripherals, etc. Please contact the Pingry Technology Department for assistance.
  5. Users will respect all copyright, trademark, and other laws governing intellectual property. No software may be installed, copied, or used on School equipment except as permitted by law. All software license provisions must be strictly adhered to.
  6. Use of Pingry Technology Services for commercial purposes, advertising, personal profit, unauthorized fundraising, or political lobbying/campaigning is prohibited.
  7. The network is a shared resource. Use of the network for academic purposes is our priority. Using the network for video game playing, and video streaming, competes with academic uses of network resources. Pingry reserves the right to limit network resources and prioritize academic uses.
  8. Use your own login and credentials and not another’s. Do not misrepresent yourself online. Respect the privacy of other people’s files and email.

C. Digital Communication and Social Media

  1. The Pingry School recognizes the rights of students, faculty, and staff who want to participate in online social networking. Pingry looks to promote an atmosphere of good will, honesty, and individual accountability. Pingry students, faculty, and staff should always keep in mind that information produced, shared, and retrieved by them is a reflection on the school community and is subject to the School’s policies. When accessing, creating, or contributing to social media for classroom or, in most cases, personal use, we expect you to follow this policy.
  2. In accordance with The Honor Code, we expect users to set and maintain high ethical standards in their use of social networking. Since social media reaches audiences far beyond the community, students must use social sites responsibly and are accountable for their actions. If a student sees anything of concern on a fellow Pingry student's social networking page or account, they should immediately contact the Director of Educational and Information Technology Technology, the Dean of Students, or another adult within the Pingry community.
  3. The logo, school name, and branding tagline are legal Trademarks and cannot be used in any electronic media or communication or otherwise without the prior permission of Pingry’s Communications Office. Pingry reserves the right to require school-related images or content be removed from the internet.
  4. Do not misrepresent yourself by using someone else's identity. This would include, but is not limited to, using another person’s account, updating someone else’s account information, logging on to someone else’s computer, or creating an online identity that pretends to be someone else.
  5. Users should keep their passwords secure and never share passwords with others. If someone accesses one of your accounts, you could be held accountable for his or her actions.
  6. When responding to others, be respectful and avoid comments that may be hurtful. Do not use profane, obscene, or threatening language. Resist the urge to post comments or send messages online when angry, upset or otherwise highly emotional. Remember that anything you post or write online has the potential to be shared with others beyond the original recipients and remain accessible forever, long after the emotions that triggered the message have passed.
  7. Cyberbullying is considered an act of harassment and is subject to the same harassment guidelines detailed elsewhere in the Pingry Student Handbook.
  8. Use of Pingry logos or images on your personal social networking sites is prohibited. If you wish to promote a specific Pingry activity or event, you may do so only by means of a link to the official Pingry Facebook account, Twitter account, or YouTube channel.
  9. Pingry reserves the right to review usage and access data files, email, voicemail, and other communications utilizing The Pingry School Technology Services. Accordingly, members of The Pingry School community should have no expectation of privacy with respect to any such usage, files, or communications.
  10. All users must respect and value the privacy of others, behave ethically, and comply with all legal restrictions regarding the use of electronic data. All users must also recognize and avoid violating or infringing the intellectual property rights of others.
  11. Use discretion when interacting with other Pingry users via social media. Except for very specific situations, Students and Pingry employees should not use non-Pingry channels for communication (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) Students should only interact with faculty via social media if it has been previously approved by that faculty member for a specific Pingry activity. Faculty should use discretion in requiring social media for Pingry uses, and should not use non-Pingry channels as the standard method of interpersonal communication.
  12. Users may only send e-mails to distribution groups that the Director of Educational and Information Technology has explicitly given them permission to use. Sending e-mails of a personal nature (e.g. personal announcements, items for sale, etc.) is prohibited.

D. For Students - Technology for Class Use

  1. Your use of technology should be in line with the expectations set by the classroom teacher, and not be distracting to you and/or to other students in the class.
  2. Technology should not be used as an excuse for not meeting the expectations of the course.
  3. Read all school and course communications on a daily basis (even on snow days). For example: emails, Moodle, and course web site postings.
  4. Come to class with your laptop prepared: necessary files and software backed up and accessible, anti-virus software up to date, and a charged battery. You must plan your day so that you can have adequate power for all academic requirements.
  5. Learn and develop the technological skills required for participation in the course.
  6. Have open only the programs, windows, and tabs that are relevant to the course as permitted by the classroom teacher.
  7. Use common file formats for the generation of any shared or submitted course documents as directed by your teacher.
  8. Use the same discretion in online communication as you would use in a classroom setting and be respectful in all shared media.

E. Additional School Policies and Federal/State Laws and Resources

  1. Pingry School Faculty/Employee Handbook
  2. Federal Copyright Law: Intellectual property, the works of authors and artists, is protected by federal copyright laws which restrict the reproduction, performance, adaptation, and distribution of literary works, sound recordings, art work, video recordings, and films in any format without the expressed consent of the author/artist. Fair use guidelines for educational purposes permit use of limited amounts of material for teaching purposes. Further information on Fair Use exemptions can be found at Stanford University’s Copyright and Fair Use page.
  3. What is Copyright?A Q & A from the U. S. Copyright Office
  4. Federal Wire Fraud Law: Federal law prohibits the use of interstate communications systems to further an illegal scheme or to defraud.
  5. Federal and New Jersey Child Pornography Laws: Federal and state laws make it a crime to produce, possess, or distribute, material that depicts sexually explicit conduct involving someone under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the activity depicted was consensual.

Pingry respectfully acknowledges the following schools whose policies were utilized with permission in developing this comprehensive policy for the Pingry community: The Hotchkiss School, The Lawrenceville School, The Peddie School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale University, Stanford University, and Cornell University.