BYOD: Shelton students could use own tech devices in school — with certain rules

The Shelton Board of Education is working to enact a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for the schools.

With more young people owning portable communications devices, BYOD would enable students to use their own devices under specific guidelines. For instance, they could be used for educational purposes only and not for personal reasons on school grounds.

“Use of technology in school is a privilege which comes with great responsibility,” states a draft version of BYOD guidelines.

Students and a parent or guardian would have to sign an agreement form to participate in BYOD. Students violating the policy could lose the right to use their personal technology in school and face other disciplinary consequences.

‘Positive educational benefits’

“We understand the many positive educational benefits of using technology in the classroom and importance of the integration of technology in our curriculum,” states the draft, released at a recent school board meeting. “In an effort to encourage our students and continue to develop their technology skills, students in the Shelton Public Schools may use their own technology at school for educational purposes.”

The draft policy would prohibit checking personal email, socializing via texts or instant messages, “or otherwise engaging in personal pursuits ... during the instructional day.”

On campus, only the “Internet gateway” provided by the school would be allowed to be accessed. “Personal technology, including cell phones and cell network adapters, are not permitted to be used to access outside Internet sources at any time,” according to the draft.

Student Code of Conduct

Under the BYOD draft guidelines, students using their own devices would have to adhere to the existing Student Code of Conduct and district’s acceptable use policy, covering such areas as bullying, harassment, cheating, threats, student confidentiality, and other forms of misconduct.

Teachers would have the discretion to determine when students could use their personal technology. “Students must immediately comply with their teachers’ requests to shut down or put away technology,” according to the draft guidelines.

Personal technology would have to be kept in silent mode; couldn’t be used for assessments or tests unless otherwise directed; and photos or videos taken of anyone on school grounds or vehicles may not be shared.

No personal privacy assumed

“There is no expectation of personal privacy in the use of personal technology at school,” states the draft policy. “The district’s network administrators have the ability to identify users and monitor all BYOD devices logged on to the network.”

School personnel would have the right to search devices “if there is reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence” that a student is violating the rules. Also, personnel may examine any device suspected of causing problems such as a virus infection or attack.

Theft or damage

Students would be responsible for keeping their devices secure and the district and its employees would assume no liability for devices stolen or damaged on school property. “It is recommended that students personalize their devices for easy identification and utilize protective cases,” states the draft.

The school’s IT personnel would not service any non-district-owned devices.