State law requires districts to adopt Internet use policies or to provide instruction on safe Internet use.
Internet Filtering Laws and Guidance
This site provides guidance on the Internet Filtering policy requirements.
Sample District Policy
This document provides sample Internet filtering policy language and is intended as a starting place for district technology teams to build their local policy.
State of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-21-34. Statewide bullying policy implemented.
(15) Students shall be prohibited from accessing social networking sites at school, except for educational or instructional purposes and with the prior approval from school administration. Nothing in this act shall prohibit students from using school department or school websites for educational purposes. School districts and schools are encouraged to provide in-service training on Internet safety for students, faculty and staff.
State of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-21.6-1. Internet filtering.
(a) "Internet-filtering measures" means the use of a specific technology or program to block or filter access to websites on the internet. (b) Each school district shall adopt the model, written policy developed by the department of education, pursuant to subsection (e), addressing the use of internet filtering measures for computer access in its schools. Any such policy shall:
- (1) Include the specific categories of websites that are blocked by the internet filtering measures in use; the basis for including those categories; and the individuals who are responsible for making those decisions;
- (2) Establish a procedure for teachers to request that a blocked website be unblocked in a timely manner; and
- (3) Specify the criteria used for overruling a request to allow access to a website that is blocked by the internet-filtering measures, and require that the teacher making such a request be provided particular reasons any time a request is denied. (c) Each school district shall maintain a public record of any requests to allow access to a website that is blocked by the internet-filtering measures and the response provided, and submit an annual report to the school committee on the number of requests granted and denied to unblock a website. (d) Each school district shall annually review the requests made in the preceding year, pursuant to subsection (b)(2), for unblocking websites in order to determine whether the categories and Standard contained in the policy adopted pursuant to subsection (b)(1) shall be revised. (e) The Rhode Island department of education shall develop a written, model internet-filtering policy for use by school districts, state schools, charter schools, and mayoral academies. The model plan shall include, but not be limited to, the provisions contained in subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3), and to the extent consistent with federal law, promote academic freedom in the classroom, and shall be communicated to all school districts in the state for their use and posted on the department website.