Tennessee Educator’s Insurance: Crafting Tech Policies Part1

Tennessee Educator’s Insurance: Crafting Tech Policies Part 1 Tennessee Educator's Insurance Crafting Tech Policies Part 1

Last fall the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to contest a Tennessee school district’s campus technology policy. Like many schools districts across the country, the Williamson County School District’s (WCSD) had been working to adopt a digital technology and social media policy that would allow educators to monitor and curb students’ use of electronics on campus but still encourage their use in the classroom. Last year the WCSD came up with new guidelines for their students which included a contract that students and their parents were supposed to sign in order to participate in the district’s evolving technology programs. The new contract was meant to help establish guidelines from a growing bring-your-own technology to school program which allows students to utilize digital devices while supervised for educational purposes in the classroom.  However upon receiving notification of the new contract, many parents were skeptical about the scope of the new policies.

One of the most contested aspects of the new technology is that the regulations afforded school officials the power to randomly and without cause confiscate and search through any electronic device utilized on school property, including student’s personal phones and tablets. Essentially school authorities could confiscate a student’s personal device with or without distinct suspicion of any wrongdoing or violation of the technology usage contract. School staff members were also allowed to monitor all communications, social media activity, and other digital data accessed or transmitted through or stored on the school’s server. This clause would allow WCSD schools complete access to everything from student’s search history to private email data.

Another highly controversial element of the new regulations was a clause which allowed WCSD to control what students, and their caregivers, were and were not allowed to post on their private social media accounts and profiles. For example, the contract prohibited both students and parents from posting any photographs of other students or WCSD employees, whether they were taken outside of the school context or not, onto social media platform without expressed permission from administration.

The ACLU fought back against the policy and called for the Williamson County School District to review and revise their policies citing civil right infringements. Read more about their response in the second half of our post.

Today, educators are faced with an increasing number of liability complications based on an ever evolving array of issues. As such, it is important that Tennessee educators secure the coverage they need to keep their staff, students and facilities financial secure. At Barnes Insurance Agency, we work with top-quality insurers to provide insurance programs for the educational sector. Our Educational Institutions Insurance Program includes property and liability solutions tailored to the risks faced by educational organizations. To learn more about our Tennessee Educator’s Insurance programs, contact us today at (866) 733-5424.

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