||Information provided by: Torrance Robinson
President & Co-Founder
Erate Rulings: http://www.echalk.com/erate.html
Online Privacy Act: http://www.echalk.com/erate_coppa.html
Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) became law on April 20,
2001. According to the FCC, in order to be in compliance with these new
rules for the upcoming funding year beginning July 1, 2001, schools and
libraries must certify by October 28, 2001 that they have the policies and
technology measures in place, or that they are undertaking such actions to
implement them. Schools or libraries that knowingly fail to comply with
CIPA are required to reimburse any E-rate discounts they received during
the time the law was in effect.
To be in compliance, applicants must certify that they are enforcing a
policy of Internet safety that includes measures to block or filter
Internet access for both minors and adults to certain visual
depictions. To demonstrate this, they must adopt and implement an Internet
safety policy. Ironically, filtering/blocking software and services cannot
be paid for using E-rate funds.
The applicant must also certify that its policy of Internet safety
includes monitoring the online activities of minors. CIPA, however, does
not require the tracking of Internet use by any identifiable individual.
Finally, CIPA requires that funding recipients provide reasonable public
notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address their
proposed policy of Internet safety.
For details on the elements of the Internet safety policy, click
To learn more about the controversy surrounding CIPA and details on
applying for E-rate, please visit our new E-rate
Grappling with the Changes
Whether your technology plans depend on E-rate funding or not, we all
want our children to be as safe as possible, at home, at school, and when
venturing onto the information superhighway. Here are some real-world tips
that teachers and staff can use to make their students' Internet
While the World Wide Web has been around now for over six years, its
effects (both good and bad) are just now beginning to be felt by K-12
schools. No one has all the answers, but it's clear that the more we
communicate with our students, teachers, parents, and each other, the more
well-informed, savvy, and safe our users will be in schools. eChalk will
continue to provide critical information on issues like E-rate and CIPA,
and we hope you'll find it to be timely and useful.
- Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) - Your school's AUP sends a
strong message about online conduct permitted at the school level.
Some email services require each user to sign or accept the AUP prior
to using the system. The AUP, often signed by parents as well, can be
used to enforce against misuse of the system.
- Acceptable Posting Policy (APP) - Regardless of who is
creating and maintaining the content of school Web pages (it could be
the Webmaster, designated teachers or even students) an APP clarifies
what is and is not appropriate for the school's online presence. Both
your AUP and APP should include a clear, concise message that includes
the consequences of breaking the rules.
- Information gathering - If you are outsourcing any
applications like email to a vendor - an Application Service Provider
(ASP) or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) - be sure to have
language written into your contract that states that the vendor will
never gather individual information on its users nor will they ever
provide that information to a third party. In addition, your school
should own outright any and all data placed on the system.
- Domain blocking - Some services allow you to set up domain
blocking so that email messages from certain domains cannot enter or
leave your system, and that certain Web pages are made inaccessible.
While it can be tricky to ensure that appropriate access is given to
all levels of users, this filtering is the type mandated by CIPA.
- Closed systems - Some email services allow you to close down
the email system so that students are only able to send email to, and
receive email from, teachers and other students within the school
community. This way, students gain the full benefits of using email
for educational purposes without the risk of unwanted messages from
Contact: eChalk Reports [eChalkReports@eChalk.com]