The Role of the Principal/Vice Principal
School administrators have a duty of care to ensure that all reasonable safety procedures are carried out to protect the well-being of students, staff, volunteers, visitors and others.
The principal has a number of key roles to play to make this happen related to the safe use of technology, including:
- informing teachers about the school board/school acceptable use policy
- providing staff with access to appropriate resources
- providing clear parameters regarding acceptable use of technology in the school
- ensuring that the policies established by the school board and school are followed
The Role of the Teacher
The Education Act states that it is the duty of the teacher to ensure that all reasonable safety procedures are carried out in courses and activities for which the teacher is responsible.
Related to the use of technology the teacher should:
- inform students about the appropriate use of technology and discuss the inherent issues
- carefully supervise students and be vigilant in monitoring their use of technology
- teach students safe online searching techniques using tools such as kid friendly search engines, directories and databases
- preview relevant sites
- bookmark safe, educational sites for student use
- create a recommended list of resources rather than allowing unstructured Internet searches which can lead to potentially dangerous and inappropriate web pages
- ensure students are taught the appropriate response to landing on an inappropriate website and how to report inappropriate Internet activity.
The Role of the Student
The student Code of Conduct1 requires students to demonstrate respect for themselves, for others and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when students follow established rules and do not compromise the safety of others.
The increase in access to information via the Internet presents young people with new freedom and opportunities, but also new responsibilities. Students are responsible for:
- understanding and following the Acceptable Use Policies for the Internet while at school and at home
- ensuring that they know what to do if a potentially dangerous situation arises.
Connect[ED] helps students develop the skills needed to resolve situations online that make them uncomfortable.
The Role of the Parent/Guardian
The Code of Conduct for parents and guardians states that they have a responsibility to support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. This is accomplished by:
- communicating regularly with the school
- becoming familiar with school rules
- encouraging their children to follow the rules of behaviour
- staying informed about both the benefits and potential dangers of social media
- maintaining open communication with their children
Parents/guardians should reassure children that they should not fear “getting in trouble” if they come forward with an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous social media situation. Connect[ED] provides opportunities for parents and guardians to work with their children through the parent/guardian lessons attached to each unit.
1Ontario Ministry of Education, (2012). Policy/Program Memorandum Number 128: The Provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of Conduct. Retreived from: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/128.pdf