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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Zero Tolerance Loses Support Nationwide

My post on my blog National Public Voice

Zero Tolerance as a School Disciplinary Policy is Not Effective

The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

Backing Away From Zero Tolerance

Students entering their Chicago high school
Schools across the country are rightly backing away from “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies under which children are suspended for minor misbehavior that once would have been dealt with by the principal and the child’s parents or with a modest punishment like detention. The schools are being pushed in this direction by studies showing: that suspensions do nothing to improve the school climate; that children who are thrown out are at greater risk of low achievement and becoming entangled with the juvenile justice system; and that minority children are disproportionately singled out for the harshest, most damaging disciplinary measures.

A new study of Chicago public schools by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research shows that the trend is beginning to take hold there as well. Beginning in 2009, the district started using policies that were intended to cut down on suspensions and expulsions by solving garden-variety disciplinary problems within the school walls. Among these was the Culture of Calm initiative through which high schools stepped up counseling and introduced a peer-driven system for student juries to mediate disputes that might otherwise have led to fights and suspensions.
Judging from suspension data, the initiatives seem to be working. In the 2013-14 school year, for example, 16 percent of high school students received an out-of-school suspension, down from 23 percent in 2008-9. Over the same period, both high school students and high school teachers have reported in surveys that their schools felt much safer, less disruptive and more orderly.
While these data are promising, out-of-school-suspension rates in the district are still too high, particularly for at-risk students. For example, 24 percent of high school students with a disability and 27 percent of the lowest-performing high school students received out-of-school suspensions in 2013-14. Suspension rates for African-American boys were unacceptably high, with a third of them receiving at least one out-of-school suspension that year.
Principals and teachers are clearly doing a better job of resolving disciplinary problems without excluding children from school. But schools serving the highest-risk students clearly need more support services and training to help those children as well.

Behind the Scenes, Everyone Pays to Gag Wrong-doers

The tenure lawsuit is going forward.

Linda Hill
All you must remember that when the NYC Parent Union started, Mike Mulgrew, President of the UFT, gave $10,000 to Mona Davids, and then he was given an award? See my post below from the NYPOST November 10, 2011.

That's how it works, you do something that helps your organization or you remain quiet about illegal actions by the Department/school(s), and you are rewarded. Who can say that the UFT is still not assisting the NYC Parent Union or Campbell Brown succeed with ending tenure? Has the UFT stood up against the national forces that want to end tenure?

Michael Mulgrew
I certainly don't think so.

And then there is the commendation by Education Update to former Superintendent Erminia Claudia, who now works for CSA, and not only tried very hard to squash Francesco Portelos, but supported Principal Linda Hill. Ms. Hill is "retiring".

Mona Davids Attorneys Withdraw

New parent group all $nug with UFT
, November 10, 2011
It’s the new teacher’s pet.

A nonprofit touting itself as an “independent” parent advocacy group has quickly cozied up to the United Federation of Teachers — and to the union’s deep pockets, The Post has learned.

The New York City Parents Union, which supported the UFT’s legal battle against charter schools being housed in public buildings and which recently ripped the mayor’s handling of the schools system, has already received $10,000 from the teachers union since launching in April.

The relationship between the two groups will take center stage tonight when the Parents Union hosts its first annual awards benefit — honoring none other than UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the UFT’s downtown headquarters.

Also honored for community leadership will be the state’s NAACP chief, Hazel Dukes — who has railed repeatedly against charter schools — and Arthur Z. Schwartz, a longtime labor lawyer who represented the transit union during its unlawful 2005 strike, which crippled the city.

His new group, Advocates for Justice, filed a lawsuit last summer on behalf of the Parents Union that echoed the UFT’s losing legal bid to keep struggling schools from being shuttered.

A host of other unions were also donors to the event including the AFL-CIO, Teamsters Local 237, SEIU 32B and the Transit Workers Union.

School-choice advocates accused the new parents group of being an arm of the UFT.

“It was always clear that the UFT was behind this organization, but now they aren’t even trying to pretend there is any separation,” said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform.

Parents Union founder Mona Davids insisted her group is not a union tool, saying it “welcomes and appreciates alliances with other individuals and organizations who share our interest in obtaining the highest-quality public education for all children in New York City.’’

Additional reporting by Yoav Gonen

Dreyfus Intermediate principal tells staff she plans to retire in June
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Embattled Dreyfus Intermediate School Principal Linda Hill has told her staff she plans to retire in June.
Ms. Hill, the subject of a probe by the city's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) for misappropriation of funds, received a letter of reprimand and was made to pay back $800 to the Department of Education that should not have been allocated to her. She has been principal of the Stapleton intermediate school for more than a decade.
She broke the news to her faculty Monday at the conclusion of a morning staff meeting, according to several faculty members there.
Ms. Hill told staff she is stepping down after a 40-year career with the school system as an educator and administrator, adding that she would stay on until the end of the school year.
If she retires before the end of June, in addition to her pension, union officials said she could be eligible for a one-time, lump-sum payout  -- perhaps as much as  $70,000 -- in retroactive wages under the contract agreement reached between the city and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA).
The DOE  could not confirm her pending retirement until paperwork had been filed and completed. A spokesman said she remains as the school's active principal.
The DOE began to inspect Ms. Hill's workplace time-sheets in early 2012, after a teacher at the school tipped off investigators that the longtime administrator may be abusing the per session or overtime system.
The whistle-blower, former Dreyfus science and technology teacher Francesco Portelos, alleged Ms. Hill was clocking overtime for supervising an after-school program, while she was actually attending monthly meetings of the School Leadership Team.
A lengthy OSI probe found Ms. Hill misallocated a total of $800 over the course of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
Payroll records show that Ms. Hill, who earned a salary of $146,713 last year, took home an average of more than $11,000 in per session (overtime) fees in 2010 and 2011, before the allegations of her double -dipping surfaced.
Ms. Hill admitted under oath that she double-dipped during a court deposition last October, but denied that it was done intentionally. She said she stopped double- billing the district after being informed that she was under investigation for the practice, according to court transcripts.
The allegations, which charged she skirted purchasing limits on her DOE-issued Procurement Card or P-Card, by splitting up payments made to the same vendor, were also brought to the DOE's attention by Portelos.
The former Dreyfus teacher, who now serves in the district's Absent Teacher Reserve pool, was removed from the classroom in 2012 and spent two years in a rubber room while under investigation for dozens of misconduct complaints initiated by Ms. Hill, that he claims were lodged in retaliation for reporting her financial improprieties.
Last year, an independent arbitrator found Portelos guilty on 11 of the 38 charges brought against him and recommended a $10,000 fine, but denied the DOE's request to terminate him and ruled that he could return to the classroom. He now serves as a substitute for absent teachers at schools across the borough.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Another Scandal Involving Carmen Farina and Her "Ignore and Hide" the Bad Stuff Leadership: "Easy-Pass" Grade Fixing at John Dewey High School

My opinion, from working with Carmen at PS6 in Manhattan as a parent while she was principal, is: if you curry her favor, say what she wants to hear and hurt people she doesn't like or believes are challenging her in any way, you can do anything you want. Just hide the bad stuff and threaten horrible consequences for squealing.

The latest event in the list for her legacy is John Dewey High School.

I posted this on my website in 2005:

NYC Deputy Chancellor Rewards Gifted, Privileged Kids in NYC Public Schools by Raising
4 Years of AP Grades

Before Bill De Blasio appointed Carmen, many, many people urged him NOT to pick Carmen as Chancellor. Obviously, our opinion doesn't matter.

Betsy Combier

John Dewey HS

So-Called ‘Easy Pass’ Grade-Fixing Scandal Rocks John Dewey High School In Brooklyn

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina Tells CBS2's Marcia Kramer: 'We're Investigating That'
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Teachers have blown the whistle on a massive grade-fixing scandal at a Brooklyn high school.
Hundreds of students who didn’t make the grade were allegedly given passing grades, and teachers told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Monday that administrators knew all about it.
“There’s like a senior house, where people get creditsjust for basically being in study hall. I know about that. Homework, eat food and they get credits for that,” John Dewey High School senior Jacob Pena said.
Charges include the principal and her administrators pressuring teachers to do all manner of things to pass failing students. The kids call it “easy pass.” It’s done to increase graduation rates, Kramer reported.
Former teacher Martin Haber told Kramer he retired last June because of it.
“They devised all kinds of crazy and innovative ways to pass them. If a student played a game in the computer room on the computer, that was a credit,” Haber said.
Both the city and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina knew all about it, teachers told Kramer.
Kramer was told that city investigators came to the school on Dec. 3 and that 10 different teachers spoke to them. They gave them names of students whose grades were changed and other details of the so-called “credit recovery program,” but still nothing has been done.
Kramer spoke to one of the teachers who talked to the investigators, a person so afraid of being fired by Principal Kathleen Elvin, who educators said is the “easy pass” architect, CBS2 had to hide the teacher’s identity.
“Basically, just changing grades en masse. The principal is a scoundrel. She’s a fraud. She has allowed this to happen. She has encouraged it. She has set it down that if you don’t follow her rules she will crush you. She’s a horror,” the teacher said.
Kramer asked what the teacher and others told investigators.
“Students that I had who didn’t deserve to graduate were graduated,” the teacher said, adding when asked if names were provided, “Absolutely, they have names. Everything is documented, systematically documented.”
Schools Chancellor Farina was asked about the probe on Monday.
“We’re investigating that,” Farina said.
The chancellor, who was at a Queens high school on Monday, ducked out a back door to avoid answering further questions, Kramer reported.
Later Monday, Chancellor Farina’s office put out a statement saying the Department of Education is cooperating with the schools’ special prosecutor, and adding “any findings of wrongdoing are taken very seriously and those responsible held swiftly accountable.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

James Eterno, a Leave Replacement Teacher, Files a Complaint Against the UFT With the Federal Department of Labor

James Eterno writes about why he has filed a complaint against the UFT:

Sunday, March 22, 2015


One of the agenda items at the UFT Executive Board meeting for Monday, March 23 is a resolution to adopt a guide and bylaws for Chapter Elections (see below).  Chapter Leader and Delegate elections are scheduled this spring for the United Federation of Teachers.

In putting out its election guide, the UFT has once again given the cold shoulder to Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers, a huge group that includes way over a thousand teachers who belong to no UFT Chapter.  As a Leave Replacement Teacher, I am one of these teachers without a permanent home. We are being disenfranchised in reality, if not on paper, as the new procedures will allow ATR's to vote and run for office in the school they are assigned to in the first week of May (see below).  This is patently absurd.  We might not even be in that school when it holds its Chapter Election in May or June.  

Last month I filed a complaint with the Federal Department of Labor that the UFT is violating federal labor law by not allowing us a reasonable opportunity to serve in the highest policy making body of the union: the Delegate Assembly.  As I told the Department of Labor:

The Landrum Griffin federal regulations say this concerning eligibility to be candidates for union office:  "Every member in good standing is eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable qualifications in the union's constitution and bylaws that area uniformly imposed."  Why should being an ATR cause us to lose any chance of being elected to the UFT's highest policy making body: The Delegate Assembly?  Teachers who are filling in as Leave Replacements or those covering vacancies provisionally also belong to no Chapter and cannot run for Chapter Leader or Delegate.  This is unconscionable.

The union's response is to say that we can run for office in the school we are assigned to in the first week of May.  It would be as if a person took a business trip to Hawaii for a week, a month or a few months and was told she/he could vote in Hawaii's election and could run for Governor of Hawaii.  

It is so dumb to think that we could serve when most of us will not be in the schools we are at the first week in May come September.  Even if we were to be elected, as soon as we are no longer in a school, the UFT would be happy to take the leadership position away from any ATR who happened to win a vote.

I informed the union's leadership in an email sent last fall to Staff Director Leroy Barr, with copies to the UFT President, the President of New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers that the process used in the last Chapter Elections in 2012 was entirely illegal.  I stated in part:
Absent Teacher Reserves (ATRs) have no representation at the UFT Delegate Assembly and we have no elected Chapter Leader.  The official UFT Calendar refers to the Delegate Assembly as the highest policy making body in the United Federation of Teachers.  Since both Chapter Leaders and Delegates make up the Delegate Assembly, ATRs should be able to vote for who will represent us. Federal labor regulations say the following concerning policymaking authority within a union: "In addition, any person who has executive or policymaking authority or responsibility must be elected even though he may not occupy a position identified as an officer position under the union's constitution and bylaws." UFT Delegates and Chapter Leaders clearly have a policymaking role and therefore the law requires that they are elected.
The Landrum Griffin Law says in SEC. 101 (a)(1) concerning equal rights: " Every member of alabor organization shall have equal rights and privileges within such organization to nominate candidates, to vote in elections or referendums of the labor organization..."  Many ATRs are being denied these basic union rights under the present UFT Chapter Election structure. 

Leroy Barr responded to my email by setting up a meeting with me that he scheduled for after the November Delegate Assembly, not in his office, but in the giant hall where the DA is held.  I had to go downstairs from the visitor's section on the 19th floor to the second floor auditorium to talk with Barr, Assistant Secretary Emil Pietromonaco and Lawyer Adam Ross. (Thanks to John Antush for being my witness.)

I suggested we need a Functional Chapter for ATR's and they rejected the notion rather emphatically. Functional Chapters are for UFT members who are not part of the regular teaching staff but serve other functions in the school system.  That would certainly describe ATR's.  An example of teachers in this category would be teachers assigned to district offices and the new Peer Validators.  They are part of a Chapter called Teachers Assigned.

I also proposed a possible compromise where we could remain as part of our old Chapters, including keeping closed school Chapters alive, until we are permanently in a new school, retire, resign are terminated or die.  They said they would consider this and assured me they understand the issue and are working on it.  I sent a follow up email that was never answered.  

I waited for three months for a reply as I always hold out some tiny hope that our union's leaders will do the right thing but I should know better by now.  By February, I had waited long enough and filed the complaint with the Federal Department of Labor

The issue comes down to the question of whether or not the UFT has set up reasonable qualifications that are uniformly imposed.  I do not believe they are reasonable in any way shape or form.

A rule that says we can run but we really can't serve in office unless we are made permanent teachers in a school, which for many of us is highly unlikely due to salary considerations or status as a teacher who once was up on state law 3020A (disciplinary) charges but were not terminated, is so clearly a method to just look good on paper but disenfranchise ATRs in reality.

As a Leave Replacement Teacher, I am 100% certain that whether we prevail with the Department of Labor or not, ATRs have been abandoned by our union's leadership yet again. It follows the proliferation of ATRs after the horrific 2005 contract ended preferred placement when a school closed, the 2011 agreement where ATRs were forced to rotate weekly and the 2014 contract where ATRs were imbedded into the contract including a clause stating that we have resigned if we miss two bogus interviews that we may have not even known about. Our tenure means nothing.

Mulgrew, Barr, etc... don't care about us at all and are trying a slick little maneuver to say they are in compliance with federal labor law on ATR voting and serving in Chapter positions. It won't be easy for the ATR's to win this but we can say a prayer (that's for you believers) the Department of Labor will see the UFT ploy for what it is.

ELECTION GUIDE AND BY-LAWSChapter Election Procedures
Election of chapter leader, other chapter officers and delegates to the Delegate Assembly shall be conducted by secret ballot under the supervision of an election committee.
The Election Committee may be designated by the chapter leader with the approval of the chapter, or may be elected by the chapter.  Candidates for chapter leader and DA delegate may not serve on the Election Committee.  If the chapter conducts an election, there must be clear notice of the process posted or discussed at a union meeting.
The duties of the Election Committee shall be:
 1.  To choose the chair of the Election Committee.
 2. To prepare a Notice of Election. This notice shall contain:
 a. A list of the positions to be filled.  In addition to the chapter leader, the notice shall state how many delegates are to be elected: one per 60 teacher members or major fraction thereof. The school printout provides the number of DA delegates. The chapter may include other chapter positions exclusive to the school.
 b. A procedure for nominations.
 c. An election calendar.
 d. A procedure for appeal.
 3. Preparing the ballots and the ballot box and determining eligible voters on the basis of UFT-  established rules.
 4.   Conducting the actual election.
 5.   Counting the ballots.
 6.   Certifying the election to the UFT Membership Department on the appropriate form.
 7.  Keeping the ballots and the ballot box in a safe place for at least one month, in case of a challenge to the results.
A copy of the Notice of Election with the Election Calendar must be distributed to each chapter member through the school mailboxes, including those in annexes and school sites, and shall be posted on the UFT bulletin board at least three (3) school days prior to the date of nominations in each site and annex.
The Election Calendar must include the following information:
·       Date of Nominations  This date must be at least 3 school days after the distribution of the Notice of Election.
·       Date of Election
The actual elections must take place on one day. This date must be at least 5 school days following the distribution of the Notice of Election.
·       Time and place of voting
This schedule must be suited to the school so as to give all UFT members an opportunity to vote.  The schedule must make provision for all school sites and annexes.
      An election calendar
Sample election calendar:  Thursday, May 7th:  Notice of election distributed; Thursday, May 14th: Nominations close at the end of the school day; Thursday, May 21st: voting.
Every school is entitled to elect a para-professional representative and the vote may take place at the same time as the chapter election. Only paraprofessionals may nominate, run and vote for paraprofessional representatives.
The UFT Constitution does not provide for co-chapter leaders. If a chapter chooses to have a co-chapter leader, it may only be on an informal basis. Only one name may be submitted as chapter leader of record.
The chair of the Election Committee must verify that all nominees accept their nominations.
Provision will be made for members who are not on the school’s table of organization but eligible to participate in the chapter’s election to nominate and be nominated.
Conducting the Election
The ballot box must be secure and monitored at all times by the Election Committee.
Provision will be made for members who are out on official school business—e.g., a class trip or conference—or who are not on the school’s table of organization, but eligible to participate to cast ballots before the close of balloting.
Members must vote in person; no absentee ballots may be cast.
Voting must take place by secret ballot on the date announced in the Election Calendar.
In cases where positions are not contested (only one candidate has been nominated for a particular role), those candidates can be confirmed without a formal vote.
Time and Place for Counting Ballots
The count shall take place on the day of voting, and provision must be made to include the vote 
of all school sites and annexes with the school count.
A supervised ballot box must be provided at a specific location. A membership roster must be available, and is to be initialed by the voter at the time the ballot is cast. Each chapter leader will have a membership printout and a chapter certification form. The printouts should be checked immediately by the Election Committee for errors or omissions.
Members who were not on the school’s table of organization but were assigned to the school on the first Monday in May will be added to the roster.
An individual whose name is not on the printout, but who claims membership and can display evidence of UFT membership—such as a NYSUT membership card or check stub with proper dues code (“-U”)—should be allowed to vote.
The ballot, however, is subject to challenge and must be sequestered. 
Ballots shall be counted at the time and place announced in the Election Calendar. Candidates or their observers may be present at the count.  Election shall be determined by the highest number of votes.  Challenged ballots shall be set aside and, if their number could affect the outcome of the election.
The Election Committee shall place an announcement of the results on the UFT bulletin board immediately after the election.
All ballots and election materials shall be retained by the Election Committee for at least one month to allow for review of results.
As soon as results have been certified by the Election Committee, the Committee Chair must complete the Chapter Certification Data Form and send it to the UFT Membership Department, 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, 11th floor.
Procedures for appeals
Appeals of elections must be made in writing to the UFT borough representative, with written notice to the chapter within five (5) school days following the election. In the event that a challenge to the election is successful, the borough representative shall establish an expedited election procedure.
Any full-time member may nominate, run for a position and vote in a school’s election if he or she is on the school’s permanent table of organization or assigned to the school on the first Monday in May of an election year.
Only teachers are eligible to nominate, run for and vote for school DA delegate, provided that they have signed the union card at least 60 days prior to the election. 
Secretaries, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and other functional chapter members are represented in the Delegate Assembly through their functional chapters and may stand for election as delegate from their functional chapters. 
District 75 and District 79 members nominate and are nominated for chapter leader in their District 75 or 79 school.  District 75 or 79 members and others who are permanently housed in the school building may vote in that chapter leader election.
Agency fee payers may not nominate, run or vote in chapter elections.
Schools with Multiple Sites: To facilitate communications and service, schools with multiple sites often have liaisons at these sites. These liaisons are not chapter leaders nor are they DA delegates unless they specifically run for those positions in the school’s election.
Persons on split assignment shall vote in their payroll school. Like others, these members must vote in person; no absentee ballots may be cast.  F-status substitutes (those with regularly scheduled part-time assignments) may vote in their school election.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New York City Department of Education Internet Policy

Internet Acceptable Use

Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy (IAUSP)

Implementing Department Resolution of February 14, 2001
Revised as of July 1, 2012

The Policy

The NYC Department of Education (“Department”) provides access to the Department’s Internet Systems for its employees, agents, students, and volunteers, collectively referred to as “users” for educational and business purposes, in conformance with applicable law.  This Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy (“policy”) governs all electronic activity of users using and accessing the Department’s Internet systems, including Department e-mail and Department-provided access to the Internet, and applies to the use of the Department Internet Systems both on and off Department property.

“The Department’s Internet Systems” means Department-provided devices, Internet connections (including wireless connections) provided by the Department, Department-provided e-mail accounts, intranet and any remote connection to Department systems.  A user is deemed to access and use the Department’s Internet Systems through any electronic activity conducted on the Department’s Internet Systems using any device (whether or not such device is a Department-provided device) regardless of the user’s physical location.
“Department-provided devices” means any electronic device provided by the Department, including, but not limited to, desktop computers, laptops, and hand-held devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, iPads, tablets and e-readers. 
Student use of the Department’s Internet Systems is governed by this policy, Department regulations, policies and guidelines, the Citywide Standards of Conduct and Uniform Disciplinary Measures (the “Discipline Code”) and applicable law. Employee use is governed by this policy, Department regulations, policies and guidelines, the Department’s employment policies, applicable collective bargaining agreements and applicable law.
By using the Department’s Internet Systems, a user agrees to follow this policy and all applicable Department regulations, policies and guidelines.  All users must report any misuse of the network or Internet or receipt of any communication that violates this policy to a teacher, supervisor or other appropriate Department personnel.

Principles of Acceptable and Safe Internet Use


Internet access and e-mail provided by the Department are intended for educational use, instruction, research and the facilitation of communication, collaboration, and other Department related purposes.  Users are subject to the same standards expected in a classroom and/or professional workplace.

Monitoring and Privacy

Users have no right to privacy while using the Department’s Internet Systems. The Department monitors users’ online activities and reserves the right to access, review, copy, store, or delete any electronic communications or files. This includes any items stored on Department-provided devices, such as files, e-mails, cookies, and Internet history. 
The Department reserves the right to disclose any electronic activity, including electronic communications, to law enforcement officials or third parties, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law. The Department will fully cooperate with local, state, or federal officials in any lawful investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the Department’s Internet Systems.

Prohibited Uses of the Department’s Internet Systems

Users may not engage in any of the activities prohibited by this policy when using or accessing the Department’s Internet Systems. 
If a user is uncertain whether behavior is prohibited, he or she should contact a teacher, supervisor or other appropriate Department personnel.   The Department reserves the right to take immediate action regarding activities that (1) create security and/or safety issues for the Department, students, employees, schools, network or computer resources, or (2) expend Department resources on content the Department determines lacks legitimate educational or Department content or purpose, or (3) the Department determines are inappropriate.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples of prohibited behavior: 
1.    Causing harm to others, damage to their property or Department property, such as:
  • Using, posting or distributing profane, lewd, vulgar, threatening, or abusive language in e-mail messages, material posted on Department web pages, or professional social media sites;
  • Accessing, using, posting, or distributing information or materials that are pornographic or otherwise obscene, advocate illegal or dangerous acts, or advocate violence or discrimination.  If users inadvertently access such information, they should immediately disclose the inadvertent access in a manner specified by their school or central division office;
  • Accessing, posting or distributing harassing, discriminatory, inflammatory, or hateful material, or making damaging or false statements about others;
  • Sending, posting, or otherwise distributing chain letters or engaging in spamming;
  • Damaging computer equipment, files, data or the Department’s Internet System in any way, including spreading computer viruses, vandalizing data, software or equipment,  damaging or disabling others’ electronic property, or engaging in conduct that could interfere or cause a danger of disruption to the Department’s educational or business environment;
  • Using the Department’s Internet System in a manner that interferes with the education of the user or others or the job duties of the user or others;
  • Downloading, posting, reproducing or distributing music, photographs, video or other works in violation of applicable copyright laws. Any music, photographs and/or video should only be downloaded for Department, and not personal purposes. If a work specifies how that work may be used, the user should follow the expressed requirements. If users are unsure whether or not they can use a work, they should request permission from the copyright or trademark owner; or
  • Engaging in plagiarism.  Plagiarism is taking the ideas or writings of others and presenting them as if they were original to the user.
2.    Gaining or attempting to gain unauthorized access to the Department’s Internet Systems, or to any third party’s computer system, such as: 
  • Malicious tampering, phishing or hacking activities;
  • Intentionally seeking information about passwords belonging to other users;
  • Disclosing a user’s password to the Department’s Internet Systems to other individuals.  However, students may share their Department password with their parents.
  • Modifying passwords belonging to other users;
  • Attempting to log in through another person's account;
  • Attempting to gain access to material that is blocked or filtered by the Department;
  • Accessing, copying, or modifying another user’s files without authorization;
  • Disguising a user’s identity;
  • Using the password or identifier of an account that does not belong to the user; or
  • Engaging in uses that jeopardize access into others’ accounts or other computer networks.
3.    Using the Department’s Internet Systems for commercial purposes, such as:
  • Using the Department’s Internet Systems for personal financial gain;
  • Conducting for-profit business activities, personal advertising, or other non-Department business communications; 
  • Engaging in fundraising (except as set forth in the Chancellor’s Regulation A-610); or
  • Using the Department’s Internet Systems on behalf of any elected official, candidate, candidates, slate of candidates or a political organization or committee.
4.    Engaging in criminal or other unlawful activities. 


In accordance to Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”), the Department blocks or filters content over the Internet that the Department considers inappropriate for minors. This includes pornography, obscene material, and other material that may be harmful to minors.  The Department may also block or filter other content deemed to be inappropriate, lacking educational or work-related content or that pose a threat to the network.  The Department may, in its discretion, disable such filtering for certain users for bona-fide research or other lawful educational or business purposes.
Users shall not use any website, application, or methods to bypass filtering of the network or perform any other unlawful activities.
See additional information regarding CIPA 

Protection of Personally Identifiable & Confidential Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) prohibits Department school officials from disclosing personally identifiable information (“PII”) from education records of Department students and families to third parties without parental consent.  However, several exceptions to this general rule may apply. 
All users of the Department’s Internet Systems must comply with FERPA and Chancellor’s Regulation A-820, Confidentiality and Release of Student Records; Records Retention.  If you are unsure about whether the activity will comply with FERPA or Chancellors Regulation A-820, please contact the Department’s Chief Information Security Officer. 
Internal communications with a Department attorney may also be confidential.  Accordingly, users should not forward or distribute such communications without first checking with the attorney. Users should ensure that e-mails that include or attach confidential information are only sent to the intended recipients.

Student Internet Safety

1.    Department Responsibilities:
  • The Department will provide curriculum about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. 
  • The Department will work to protect the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications. 
  • As appropriate, the Department will provide students, staff and parents with guidelines and instructions for student safety while using the Internet.
2.    Students Using the Department’s Internet Systems
  • Students must not reveal personal information about themselves or other persons on social networking sites, in chat rooms, in emails or other direct electronic communications, or any other forum over the Internet. For example, students must not reveal their home address, or telephone or cell phone number. Students   must not display photographs of themselves, or the images of others.
  • Students should not meet in person anyone they have met only on the Internet.

    Students must promptly disclose to their teacher or other school employee any message or other activity they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Students should not allow Department computers to save their passwords.  
3.    Teachers using the Department Internet Systems, including Social Media for class activities
  • Teachers should educate students about appropriate and safe online behavior, including interacting with individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.  Teachers should refer to the Department’s Citizenship in the Digital Age guide, and other free educational Internet safety resources available on the Internet. 
  • Social Media
    • “Social media” means any form of online publication or presence that allows interactive communication, including, but not limited to, social networks, blogs, Internet websites, internet forums, and wikis.  Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and Flickr.
    • Schools use a variety of online web-based interactive communication technologies to enhance students’ education and learning. Social media sites must be used only for educational and school related purposes, in connection with lessons and assignments and to facilitate communication with teachers and other students. 
    • The Department limits access to these sites to individuals within the Department and Department school officials.  If access to a social media site will extend beyond individuals within the Department or Department school officials, then parent consent is required.
    • Teachers must refer to the Department’s Social Media Guidelines, which are incorporated into this policy, if Internet activities will involve social media.  
4.    Parents:
  • Although students generally will be supervised when using the Department’s Internet System on school property, it is not practicable for the Department to monitor and enforce a wide range of social values in student use of the Internet. Parents are primarily responsible for transmitting their particular set of family values to their children, and discussing with their children what material is and is not acceptable for their children to access through the Department’s Internet Systems.
  • Parents are exclusively responsible for monitoring their children's use of the Internet when the Department’s Internet Systems are accessed from home or a non-school location.  The Department may or may not employ its filtering systems to screen home access to the Department’s Internet Systems. Parents should inquire with the school or Department.

Violations of this Policy

The Department, including central offices and schools, reserves the right to terminate any user’s access to Department Internet Systems - including access to Department e-mail - at any time. 
If a student violates this policy, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken consistent with the Discipline Code and applicable Chancellor’s Regulations.  If a student’s access to the Department’s Internet System is revoked, the student may not be penalized academically, and the Department will ensure that the student continues to have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the educational program. 
Employee violations of this policy will be handled by appropriate discipline.
All users must promptly disclose to their teacher, supervisor, principal or manager any information they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable. 

Limitation of Liability

The Department makes no guarantees about the quality of the services provided and is not responsible for any claims, losses, damages, costs, or other obligations arising from use of the network or accounts. Any additional charges a user accrues due to the use of the Department’s network are to be borne by the user. The Department also denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through user access. Any statement, accessible on the computer network or the Internet, is understood to be the author's individual point of view and not that of the Department, its affiliates, or employees.

Copies of this Policy and Inquiries

The Department reserves the right to amend and/or revise this policy at any time as the need arises. This policy is available upon request and in soft copy.

Inquiries pertaining to this regulation should be addressed to:
NYC Department of Education
Office of Communications & Media Relations
52 Chambers Street, Room 314 
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212-374-5141
Fax: 212-374-5584