May 11, 2012
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: July 1st Deadlines for CIPA, E-Rate and Technology Plans
In August 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a new Order (FCC 11-125) pertaining to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) rule revisions which incorporate the E-Rate provisions of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act enacted in 2008.
The most important aspect of the educational guidelines under the new Order is that Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors and must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness.
The new education requirements for Internet safety become effective July 1, 2012, for the 2012 – 2013 school year. The new requirements are applicable for all school E-Rate applicants applying for discounts on Internet access, internal connections and basic maintenance. Schools, school districts, and educational service centers that have not already updated their Internet safety policies have less than two months to do so.
The two key questions to be addressed are:
- What must be added to an Internet safety policy to make it compliant?
- How must the change be made and documented?
The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act and the FCC Order provide general language calling for the inclusion of a monitoring and educational policy component. This language provides some flexibility for any applicant seeking to update their policy.
In the 2011 CIPA Order, the FCC acknowledged that schools and districts will need to establish proof of the public meeting that led to your existing CIPA policy. The 2012 Form 486 certification reviews may include a CIPA policy documentation request.
All E-Rate applicants should be prepared to respond to review requests for a copy of the public notice of the board meeting where the CIPA policy was discussed, the agenda of the board meeting where the CIPA policy was discussed, the board approval of CIPA policy captured in the minutes and the actual district CIPA policy, addressing every required point.
The Agency is coordinating with our ePlan developer (SEDL) to implement an updated process to allow school districts, charter schools and education service centers to certify that their school district or charter school complies with all requirements relating the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The required documentation will need to be filed at the local level.
Adding the new CIPA Internet Safety Training elements to your existing policy does not require an additional public meeting, unless for any reason you are unable to show the required documentation of the original public meeting that led to your existing CIPA policy. In this case, post the agenda now, discuss it at your district or school’s board meeting before the summer break, document its approval in the minutes and save the resulting policy indefinitely.
If Funding Year 2012 is your first year of filing for or otherwise benefitting from E-Rate discounts, you should check box 6.b on the Form 479. You will also need to ensure that you diligently work toward full CIPA compliance throughout the funding year, and then be able to certify compliance with all of the CIPA requirements listed on the attached documents by July 1, 2013. The FCC allows you to use the first year of E-Rate participation to work toward full CIPA compliance. You will be required to keep documentation of your original CIPA compliance for as long as you participate in the E-Rate program, and for an additional five years thereafter.
TEA has resources on cyber bullying at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/CSH_Bullying.html and resources on Internet Safety at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147487064. In addition, the newly revised Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), effective beginning with school year 2012-2013, have student standards identified for Digital Citizenship at Grades K-12 -http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter126/index.html.
If you need additional assistance regarding E-Rate, please contact Richard LaGow in the Agency’s Division of Instructional Materials and Educational Technology at 512-463-9400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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