Model AUPs for student empowerment?

I received this e-mail earlier in the week:

My name is [anonymous]. I am a Library Media Director at [high school] in [city, state]. We are a small community, who until recently underwent tremendous growth in the number of students and buildings in our district. I am writing to you because I have been an admirer of your blog and writings on how we, as educators, can shape the educational direction of students using technology. Your posts on Dangerously Irrelevant have inspired me to no longer take a back seat and wait for changes to occur in our district. Now, I’m trying to lead the charge. I have for several years been met with the proverbial "brick wall" when attempting to get the district to allow more access to technology tools on-line. We currently do not permit access to many Web 2.0 sites that actually help with our student’s education. With persistent badergering, our Central Administration is allowing me to rewrite our Acceptable Use Policy so students can supplement class instruction with blogs, access academic content from YouTube and similar video sites, and post information on wikis. I would love to know what you believe should be in an AUP that addresses the concerns of today but is still conscious of the technology access of tomorrow. I’m sure you are very busy, but any help you can provide to me and my students would be greatly appreciated.

Here is my rather lame response:

Hi [anonymous], I haven’t really seen any good model AUPs, but then again I haven’t gone looking. Here are a couple of links:

I would find some tech-savvy districts in your state and see how they’re handling their AUPs. They may be better resources for you than I am. Maybe the edublogosphere has some suggestions for us both?

So, how about it? Does anyone have, or know of, a good student AUP that can serve as a model for others? One that seems to appropriately address the safety concerns of districts while simultaneously affording students access to the digital tools that are revolutionizing the rest of society?

You know, NSBA, AASA, NASSP, and/or NAESP (and their state affiliates) should be helping districts with this. Maybe some of these leadership organizations are and we just need to bring their efforts to the forefront?

4 Responses to “Model AUPs for student empowerment?”

  1. Hi Scott,

    Our district’s AUP is modeled on the Minnesota School Board Association’s sample policy. It covers not just students, but staff as well. I would suggest using a similar source since as i understand it, these model policies have been vetted by lawyers.

    While a good AUP is important, I would suggest to your reader that the interpretation of the policy is what will determine access and enforcement. Most policies have very vague language like “acceptable” or “harmful” or “inappropriate.” A good tech committee should be helping write rules and guidelines that interpret the school board adopted AUP.

    Our district’s AUP policy 524 (which is pretty standard) can be found on our website at under District -> Board -> Policies

    All the best and happy New Year!


  2. One that we’ve used really successfully for the past 20mths:

  3. Like Doug, our district uses the MSBA sample policy as a template. In general I think that policies like AUPs should be pretty vague about specific technologies. Given that the school board has to approve changes to board policies and that such a change requires several months to accomplish, I’d rather not try to delineate specific good and bad technologies. Shouldn’t the focus be on student and staff behaviors?

    There’s nothing in our current policy that would preclude a student or teacher from using blogs or almost any other specific technology that might come into use in the future. I’d rather leave it to the teachers and other school staff to decide what constitutes an acceptable use of the technology that the school provides.


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