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Series 407 - Employee Responsibilities

Adopted: May 1983
Revised: October 2016

1.  Copyright and Patent Ownership - District 196 reserves the proprietary rights to certain publications, instructional materials, software applications, inventions and creations, which employees may develop or create, or assist in developing or creating in accordance with stipulations set forth in Administrative Regulation 407.1AR, Copyright and Patent Ownership.

2.  Consultant Services - Employees shall be permitted to engage in consulting activities so long as their activities do not impair or interfere with their job performance. 

3.  Research and Publishing

3.1   The board recognizes the value of educational research, and encourages employees to write and develop professional materials.

3.2   All research studies carried out in the district by district employees that use school or district data, or staff or students as subjects, must be approved in advance by the Superintendent or his or her designee. To be approved, the research must:

3.2.1  Protect the rights and welfare of any human subjects involved and

3.2.2  Be of direct benefit to one or more district schools or the district, and/or

3.2.3  Contribute to the advancement of education in general.

3.3   On occasion the district may sponsor or co-sponsor research studies.  In such cases, employees will be expected to cooperate with the study.

4.  Political and Governmental Activities

4.1   The board recognizes the value of involvement in political and governmental activities and encourages its employees to participate in such activities, including running for and serving in appointive and elective office.

4.2   Employees shall not use district property for political purposes or engage in political or governmental activities that may result in a conflict of interest or impairment of job performance.

4.3   The superintendent may consider occasional modifications of an employee's work responsibilities and schedule to facilitate an employee's political or governmental activities.

5.  Conflict of Interest - District employees, including School Board members, shall not engage in any activity that conflicts, or raises a reasonable question of conflict, with their responsibilities in the district.

6.  Use of Copyrighted Material -- The Copyright Law of the United States, Title XVII of Public Law 94-553, shall govern the use of copyrighted materials by district employees and students.  Any use or reproduction of copyrighted materials must be done either with the written permission of the copyright holder or within the bounds of “fair use” guidelines provided in the law.

6.1   District 196 prohibits the copying or use of copyrighted material that is not specifically permitted or exempted by the copyright law.

6.2   The law provides penalties for the unauthorized copying of “original works of authorship” in the following categories unless such copying falls within the “fair use” guidelines: 

6.2.1  literary works (including computer programs);

6.2.2  musical works, including any accompanying words;

6.2.3  dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

6.2.4  pantomimes and choreographic works;

6.2.5  pictorial, graphic and sculptural works;

6.2.6  motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

6.2.7  sound recordings, and

6.2.8  architectural works, including drawings, blueprints and the final structure.

6.3   The superintendent or designee will develop and disseminate information about copyright laws to district employees and students, and school and department administrators will post a copy of this policy and related documents on or near all print, video and computer equipment capable of making or modifying copies.

6.4   The district will not accept responsibility for willful reproduction or retention of copyright materials beyond limits provided by the publisher or producer.

6.4.1  The employee must exert reasonable effort to be familiar with copyright regulations. 

6.4.2  Willful violation of copyright regulations is the responsibility of the employee and may result in disciplinary action.

6.4.3  The district will not assume responsibility for any employee violating copyright regulations.

6.5   All District 196 employees are responsible for complying with federal copyright laws, and district policies and regulations.  (See Administrative Regulation 407.6AR, Copyright, for more information.)

6.5.1  Unlawful copies of copyrighted materials may not be produced on district-owned equipment. 

6.5.2  Unlawful copies of copyrighted material may not be used with district-owned or leased equipment, within district-owned or leased facilities, or at district-sponsored events.

6.5.3  Employees who make copies and/or use copyrighted material in their jobs are expected to be familiar with published provisions regarding fair use, public display and computer guidelines, and are further expected to be able to provide their supervisor, upon request, the justification based on fair use, public display or computer guidelines as specified in the copyright law.

6.5.4  No employee may direct a student, other employee or volunteer to copy or request copies of material that would be in violation of copyright.

6.5.5  Employees who use copyrighted material that does not fall within fair use, public display or computer guidelines must be able to substantiate that the material meets one of the following tests:

6.5.5.1  The material has been purchased from an authorized vendor by the individual employee or the district, and a record of the purchase exists;

6.5.5.2  The material is a copy covered by a licensing agreement between the copyright owner and the district or the individual employee, or

6.5.5.3  The material is being previewed or demonstrated by the user to reach a decision about future purchase or licensing, and a valid agreement exists that allows for such use.

7.  Acceptable Use of Information Technology

7.1   District 196 offers employees, students and other authorized users (as determined by the Technology Support Department, and school and department administrators) access to a variety of information technology resources, including computer workstations, local area networks, a wide area network, the Internet and a voicemail network.

7.1.1  Local Area Network (LAN) -- Each district school and building has access to a local area network (computer network) that allows data connectivity among classrooms, media centers and offices.

7.1.2  Wide Area Network (WAN) -- All schools and offices in District 196 have access to the district Wide Area Network which allows data connectivity and Internet access among all sites.

7.1.3  In response for the privilege of accessing the Internet, every Internet user has the responsibility to respect and protect the rights of every other user on the Internet, and to act in a responsible, ethical and legal manner.

7.1.3.1  In accordance with federal law, the district attempts to block Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene or child pornography (for students and adults) and that are harmful to minors (for students). (See Administrative Regulation 407.7AR, Acceptable Use of Information Technology – Employees, for more information.)

7.1.4  Voicemail Network -- Employees have access to a voicemail network which allows for verbal messages to be sent and received from and to district employees, and from the public to district employees.

7.2   Use of the Internet, district computer networks, computer workstations and the voicemail network is a privilege which may be revoked at any time for abusive conduct.

7.2.1  Any misuse or illegal activities will result in temporary or permanent cancellation of privileges and, if a violation of law has occurred, contact with law enforcement authorities.  Misuse or illegal activities may also result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

7.2.2  The networks (LAN, WAN and voicemail) are a shared resource which are the property of the school district and, as such, may be subject to district-authorized search to ensure the integrity of the networks and compliance with policies and laws.

7.3   Acceptable use of information technology includes the following:

7.3.1  Use consistent with the mission of District 196;

7.3.2  Use that encourages efficient, cooperative and creative methods to perform the user’s job duties or educational tasks, and

7.3.3  Use related to instructional, administrative and other support activities considered consistent with the mission of the district.

7.4   All educators have a responsibility to work together to help students develop the skills needed to discriminate among information sources, to identify information appropriate to student age and development levels, and to evaluate and use information to meet students’ educational goals.

7.5   Employees may contribute to school or district home pages within guidelines established by the District 196 Technology Support Department.

8.  Professional Conduct - District 196 is committed to providing an environment where all students, parents and employees feel welcome and safe. School district employees are expected to behave professionally and to treat students, parents, community members and each other with respect and dignity.  The superintendent shall develop and enforce regulations consistent with applicable laws and collective bargaining agreements.

References: 

  • Public Law 94-553, United States Code, Title XVII, Copyright
  • Public Law 106-554, Title XVII, Children’s Internet Protection Act

Policies/407/10-10-16