Internet Access and Social Media
To: RCPS Parents and Families
From: Mary Moran, Superintendent
Date: January 28, 2013
Re: Internet Access and Social Media
I am writing to you to communicate some changes in our practice with student internet access and social media. Rutland City Public School’s mission includes an effort to provide a safe and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect and addresses the social and emotional needs of all students. In support of this goal, all students sign an agreement for computer and internet use which signifies they will: keep safe, be courteous, grow as learners, and handle technology with care. As a school district, we block harmful content for all of our system users with a filtering device. In addition, teachers monitor students throughout the day including while children are on the Internet.
In the next few weeks, we will change some of our content filter settings. We will open up access at school to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of our teachers, clubs and athletic programs, and the Stafford Technical Center have official FB school pages since Facebook can be a helpful tool for communication in general and business applications at STC in particular. Students will have the option of “Liking” those official FB school pages. By doing this, we are not suggesting or recommending Facebook or social networking tools for students. That is a parental decision. Students are under no obligation to participate on Facebook as part of their schoolwork and should not be friending adults or teachers.
If you choose to allow your student to open a Facebook account, or use other social media, please be aware of the responsibility associated with the use of those programs and, as always, supervise your children closely. The American Association of Pediatrics suggests that you talk to your child about the appropriate uses of technology. As a parent/school partnership we can help students by discussing safe navigation and the web with our youngsters. Students must do their part, and are expected to make good choices when they are using computers.
We urge you to talk to your child about what it means to be a good “digital citizen,” to be aware of how your child is using technology in your home, and to make yourself aware of the tools available to students today. There are many free resources about internet safety at http://www.safekids.com,http://www.commonsensemedia.org, and through the state and local government.
If you have any questions about the adjustments we are making at school, or how to talk to work with your child in this area, please contact your school’s principal.