ALL schools AND libraries who participate in E-Rate MUST be in compliance with CIPA
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was signed into law on December 21, 2000. To receive support for Internet access and internal connections services from the Universal Service Fund (USF), school and library authorities must certify that they are enforcing a policy of Internet safety that includes measures to block or filter Internet access for both minors and adults to certain visual depictions. The relevant authority with responsibility for administration of the eligible school or library must certify the status of its compliance for the purpose of CIPA in order to receive USF support.
In general, school and library authorities must certify either that they have complied with the requirements of CIPA or that CIPA does not apply to them because they are receiving discounts for telecommunications services only.
A technology protection measure (e.g. Internet filtering software) is a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access. It must protect against access by adults and minors to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or — with respect to use of computers with Internet access by minors — harmful to minors. It may be disabled for adults engaged in bona fide research or other lawful purposes. For schools, the policy must also include monitoring the online activities of minors.
The Internet safety policy must address the following issues:
The authority with responsibility for administration of the school or library must provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy.
For further details on what to say at your board meeting, see: Board Meeting Discussion for CIPA
If your school or library is selected for audit, you must have documentation to support your CIPA compliance:
On May 11, 2021, the FCC released the Emergency Connectivity Fund Order (ECF Order). Beginning on page 51, the ECF Order includes clarification on CIPA requirements regarding off-campus use of school or library owned devices as follows:
On August 11, 2011 the FCC released an order updating the existing Commission rules regarding CIPA to include the statutory language from the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act regarding the education of students about appropriate online behavior. Rules effective with E-Rate FY 2012-13 applications. FCC-11-125A1 CIPA Order 110811.pdf
Note: The statute does not extend the new requirement to “monitor the online activities of minors” to libraries.
Following summary of changes provided by E-Rate Central (www.e-ratecentral.com):
On November 14, 2012 the FCC provided guidance for schools regarding CIPA compliance, specifically with the new rules for educating minors about appropriate online behavior.
Questions answered are as follows:
Q1: What should schools include in their Internet safety policies, and what documents should schools retain to demonstrate compliance with the requirement to educate minors about appropriate online behavior?
A: It is sufficient for a school’s Internet safety policy to specify that the school educates its students about appropriate online behavior. A school is not required to provide details about the curriculum, trainings or other educational programs it has chosen in the Internet safety policy itself. Although the FCC does not require schools to specify curriculum in their Internet safety policies, they should keep
records of the implementation of their chosen method(s) for educating minors about appropriate online behavior. For example, a school could maintain an annual list of the curriculum, trainings, or other programs provided to its students.
Q2: Are schools receiving E-rate discounts for Internet access and/or internal connections required to provide education about appropriate online behavior to their students every year?
A: The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act requires a school to certify, as part of its Internet safety policy, that it “is educating minors about appropriate online behavior.” Neither the statute nor the FCC’s rules, however, specify how often a school must provide education regarding appropriate online behavior. While we do not read the statute to require annual trainings, curriculum or online behavior education programs, the phrase “is educating” in the statute suggests some form of regular training. Therefore, schools should determine how frequently they will provide educational programs or curriculum by evaluating local or community needs, and should retain documents demonstrating the frequency with which they provide their students with such programs or access to such curriculum. For example, a school might decide to provide training about appropriate online behavior to its students when they first start using the Internet and then every other year that follows.
Q3: Do schools need to ensure the education of every student in order to be able to certify they are educating minors about appropriate online behavior?
A: Schools should provide education about appropriate online behavior to their students who are actually accessing the Internet using E-rate covered services. Schools are not required to provide education about appropriate online behavior to very young students who are not yet using the Internet in school. Once schools identify the students that should receive education about appropriate online behavior, we expect schools to take reasonable steps to educate these minors. To the extent that a school has a way to record the students that have received training, it may want to retain such records. For example, if a school trains its students using an online education course, it can keep records of which students have taken the online training. Or, if a school educates its students about appropriate online behavior at a school assembly, the school could retain a record of the students in attendance that day. We recognize there may
be situations, however, where it would be difficult to demonstrate that all of the students identified as needing the training have been trained, due to student absences or other variables. To the extent a school is aware that some students have missed the scheduled training, the school should take reasonable steps to provide a make-up training or otherwise provide the relevant material to those students.
For the full text, see: 2012_CIPA_DA-12-1836A1.pdf
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