GAYLORD - In response to parental concerns about student iPad use at a recent board meeting, the Sibley East School Board urged parent participation in online surveys on the school's website.
Two weeks ago, Sibley East Junior High School Principal Steve Harter sent a message home with all eighth-grade students regarding staff collection of iPads and inspection of iPad usage and conduct, after school officials received reports of improper usage.
Harter's note said teachers would use other methods to distribute and collect student work while the iPads were reviewed by school staff. He cited student data confidentiality laws regarding more information on the issue and referred further questions to the local police department.
Gaylord Police Chief Ken Mueller said inappropriate material was found on a student's iPad, that an investigation was complete, and that no criminal charges were pending.
According to the Project Ed 21 (iPad Project) tab on the Sibley East Public School website, cyber safety is an important parent-child discussion to revisit frequently, from elementary through high school.
Experts warn that children are most vulnerable to online dangers while in their own home, the guide read.
According to the school's Electronics Technologies Acceptable Use Policy (No. 524), outside of school, parents bear responsibility for the same guidance of Internet use as they exercise with information sources such as television, telephones, radio, movies, and other possibly offensive media.
Parents are responsible for monitoring their student's use of the district educational technologies, including school-issued e-mail accounts and the Internet if students are accessing the district's electronic technologies from home or other remote locations.
The parents' guide strongly suggested installing software to filter and and block inappropriate home wireless network content. Examples include OpenDNS (free version available), SafeEyes, and NetNanny. Some of the products feature cell phone filtering, text message and photo screening tools, digital footprint/reputation monitoring.
The guide urged parents to regularly share expectations with their children about accessing only appropriate sites and content, and stressed the importance of being a good person when online.
The district's Project Ed 21 link included instructions on setting iPad restrictions, a handbook, 21st Century Learning Skills, an iPad Application Summary list, iPad Application E-Form and Project Ed. 21 Outline.
For more information, visit www.sibleyeast.org.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.