CIPA Planning Process
and Public Input
want to develop a planning and implementation process that ensures a good-faith,
comprehensive approach to concerns related to the safe and responsible use of
the Internet. Districts across the country vary greatly in terms of size and
complexity and have different basic approaches to planning. The following are
recommendations that districts may wish to consider in the CIPA Planning Process.
Policy and Planning
will either delegate the responsibility for developing a CIPA Internet Safe
and Responsible Use Policy and Regulations to a pre-established technology committee
or establish a specific committee to address CIPA matters. Regardless of the
approach, there should be some coordination with whatever district committee
has ongoing oversight in the operations of the district's Internet system. The
recommended Policy included in this Planning Guide envisions ongoing committee
oversight specifically related to the district's Internet Safe and Responsible
Use Plan. Whatever committee addresses the issues should include representatives
from all of the major stakeholder groups, including teachers and administrators
at all school levels, technical services, media specialists, secondary students,
and possibly parents.
The Policy will
need to be approved by the district's governing board. The Regulations will
need to be approved in accord with the district regulatory process. Since policies
and regulations can be extensive and difficult for many to read, the district
committee may also wish to prepare a brief description of the District's Safe
and Responsible Use Plan for dissemination to parents and the community. Templates
for the Policy, Regulations, Student User Agreement, Letter to Parents, and
Description of the District Safe and Responsible Use Plan have all been provided
in this Planning Guide.
CIPA requires the
a public notice and a public hearing:
HEARING.-- An elementary or secondary school described in clause (i) or the
school board, local educational agency, or other authority with responsibility
for administration of the school, shall provide reasonable public notice and
hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposed Internet
safety policy. ... "
For public schools,
state laws will prescribe the manner in which public notice must be posted and
a public hearing must be held. Private schools generally have some established
procedures to communicate with the parents of the students attending the school.
Districts may wish
to consider addressing CIPA in the context of two public meetings. The first
would be a public hearing early in the process by the committee in which members
of the public are invited to submit input into the development of a Safe and
Responsible Use Policy. The second would be the actual presentation of the District
Safe and Responsible Use Policy and Plan to the district's governing body. Most
school board meetings provide the opportunity for public input prior to board
sought to persuade the FCC to implement more extensive public disclosure requirements.
The FCC responded as follows:
40. After careful
review, we decline to require schools and libraries to publicly post the key
requirements of CIPA, the text of the written Internet safety policy adopted,
the name of the vendor of the technology protection measure chosen, and instructions
on registering complaints. We disagree with commenters that suggest that recipients
be required to post this material in a public area, preferably near the Internet
computers, and on websites when possible. Commenters argue that this mandated
disclosure would inform library patrons and parents of school children about
the measures taken to protect against illegal or objectionable content, and
would assure that the public would assist in monitoring compliance.
41. The plain
language of the statute does not require such disclosures. Congress has not
specified what information schools and libraries must disseminate to their
relevant communities regarding CIPA implementation choices, and the manner
in which they must do so. Because the statute does not require these disclosures,
we decline to impose additional burdens on schools and libraries ."
While not required,
districts should consider the benefits of complying with some of the recommendations
that were made to the FCC. Appropriate disclosures can help facilitate communication
with parents, alleviate parental concerns about use of technology and the Internet,
and generate support for the district's technology programs. Such disclosures
can also help parents understand the need to develop comprehensive strategies
to reinforce the safe and responsible use of technology by their children at
home. Disclosures can help to mitigate problems by communicating information
about the district's good faith efforts, as well as providing honest information
about the limits of all Technology Protection Measures and other strategies.
Districts can also use these disclosures as an opportunity to request further
input from the various stakeholders that can be used in evaluating and updating
the districts Internet Safe and Responsible Use Plan.
Districts may wish
to consider the following disclosures and input mechanisms:
- Posting of the
District's Internet Safe and Responsible Use Plan (one page document) on the
district web site, with links to the policy and regulations, and an e-mail
input mechanism requesting comments or concerns.
- Provision of
the District's Internet Safe and Responsible Use Plan (one page document)
to parents in addition to the Student Internet Safe and Responsible Use Agreement
and parental permission form.
also sought to persuade the FCC to implement more information gathering requirements.
42. A few commenters
propose mandating that all schools and libraries compile and report specific
information about the workings of technology protection measures. Under these
proposals, entities would be required, for example, to catalogue (in various
categories) the number of attempts made to access prohibited visual depictions,
the number of times the technology measure succeeded or failed, and the number
of instances where "clearly or arguably appropriate and protected material"
was inadvertently blocked or restricted. It has also been proposed that we
require all recipients to collect any complaints filed by the public, and
make these available. Other commenters oppose these various requirements as
not mandated by CIPA, overly burdensome to schools and libraries, and potentially
violative of statutory privacy rights of students. Because we concur that
these data collection and reporting requirements fall outside the requirements
of CIPA, we decline to impose such requirements on recipients. As we have
stated previously, we are confident that local authorities will take the appropriate
steps to ensure that they have complied with CIPA's requirements .
While not required,
districts should also consider the benefits of establishing a process for gathering
data and evaluating the effectiveness of the District's Internet Safe and Responsible
Use Plan. Technologies are changing rapidly and new concerns may emerge. The
template Policy provided in this Planning Guide envisions an ongoing evaluation
process. The district Internet policy and planning committee should evaluate
the following kinds of information:
- The degree to
which the Technology Protection Measure is blocking access to appropriate
- The effectiveness
of the process implemented in the district for temporarily or permanently
unblocking sites. (Input should be specifically sought from district media
specialists, teachers, and high school students to evaluate this issue.)
- Reported incidents
where students have accidentally accessed inappropriate materials. (These
reports should be analyzed with respect to determining the content and effectiveness
of district instruction in avoiding such accidental access.)
- Reported incidents
of student or staff violations of the District Internet Safe and Responsible
Use Policy and Regulations.
- Any recommendations
or input made to the committee from administrators, teachers, parents, students,
and community members.
The template Policy
and Regulations envision implementation action items that will be the responsibility
of building administrators and other educators. Responsibility for the implementation
of other action items should be delegated to the appropriate individual or committee.
The most significant of these implementation items will need to be addressed
by district staff responsible for addressing curriculum and professional development
issues. The curriculum and professional development issues that need to be addressed
of the district educational web site.
development and standards for the development of classroom educational web
- Safe and responsible
use instruction for students .
- Legal, ethical,
and safe use issues professional development for administrators .