Simplifying the School Acceptable Use Policy

Every year at our Annual General Meeting, the PEI Home and School Federation considers resolutions presented by our local associations and by the provincial board. This year many of the resolutions concern information technology: how it’s funded, how it’s managed, where the emphasis lies.

My favourite resolution, and one I forwarded and wrote, is the one titled “Simplification of the Acceptable Use Policy” and its “resolved” section reads:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEIHSF requests the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development replace the current “Minister’s Directive for the Acceptable Use Communication and Information Technology,” with a simple statement, to be signed by students and affirmed by parents: “I agree to use computers, the Internet and related resources in a manner that respects myself and others.”

Go and take a look at MINISTERS DIRECTIVE NO. MD 2005-04 Acceptable Use of Computer and Information Technology, the policy we’re seeking to simplify: it’s a confusing rabbit warren of language for which the maintenance and evolution of inside the education system has consumed hundreds of hours of time. 

I like our simplification resolution because it’s clear, simple, and addresses a needlessly bureaucratic overhead the system bears each year: a policy that few if any parents or students ever read (and yet are required to sign) that fruitlessly attempts to cover all possible calamities and misdeeds and offers penalties — “cancellation of access” — that are, in this day and age, effectively impossible.

The suggested replacement of:

I agree to use computers, the Internet and related resources in a manner that respects myself and others.

is simple, comprehensive, respects rather than assumes the worst, and recognizes that there are shades of grey in everything. We’ll be considering it at our Prince Street Home and School meeting tonight, and then at the PEI Home and School Federations Annual Meeting on April 14th.


Linda Lowther's picture
Linda Lowther on March 14, 2012 - 02:24 Permalink

I vote for that!