Mobile Phones and Social Media Policy
The school does not prohibit the possession of mobile phones or other electronic devices at school on the condition that they are used appropriately.
What is Inappropriate Use?
Inappropriate use of a mobile phone includes:
- using it in a way that disrupts or is likely to disrupt the learning environment or interfere with the operation of the school
- bullying, intimidating or otherwise harassing others through SMS or text messaging or through photographic video or other data transfer system available on the phone
- recording of conversations, including lessons, without the knowledge and permission of the teacher or those involved in the conversation.
- downloading or otherwise accessing inappropriate material on the internet such as child abuse or pornographic or other offensive material
- filming of fights or other criminal behaviour involving students that occur at school, during school activities or while on the way to or from school
- using it in a way that threatens or is likely to threaten the safety or wellbeing of any person
- use that is in breach of any law.
Inappropriate use of a mobile phone or social media site such as Face Book includes usage that bullies, intimidates, harasses or threatens other people. Students who use their phones or social media sites in inappropriate ways will be dealt with using the Student Welfare and Discipline policy.
The school cannot assist students if their phone is lost or stolen.
Students bring their phones or other electronic equipment to school at their own risk.
The Department of Education and Communities' Legal Bulletin (35):
The use of mobile phones, portable computer games, recording devices and cameras in schools and TAFE NSW institutes outlines the DEC policy outlines the procedures schools may use to respond to allegations of inappropriate use of mobile phones in schools.
This document can be found on:
The following is an extract from the bulletin on a common example of inappropriate use of mobile phones:
When can the school staff confiscate or look at a student's mobile phone and social media?
This can happen when the principal or delegate has reasonable grounds to suspect that a student has inappropriate material on his or her phone. The Principal or delegate may confiscate the phone for the purpose of confirming the existence of the material. Any viewing of the material will be undertaken in the presence of the student and should be limited to establishing that inappropriate material is on the phone. Staff must be sensitive to other personal information of the student that may also be present on the phone.
Reasonable grounds may include but are not restricted to the following:
Material that falls within the meaning of sexting is found on the phone. Sexting involves sending sexually explicit or suggestive pictures to mobile phones or posting them on individual or inter-active websites such as Face book.
The phone has been used to record fights or other criminal activity involving students occurring at a school, during school activities or on the way to, or from, the school.
The phone has been used to take photos or record others without permission
Material that is offensive or intended to bullying, harass, intimidate or threaten others has been posted on a social media site
If evidence of inappropriate material or usage is found on a student's mobile phone or social media site, the following actions may occur, depending on the level of seriousness.
- banning students from using mobile phones during the course of the school day
- confiscating mobile phones from individual students
- requiring students to hand in their mobile phones to designated school staff at the beginning of the school day for collection when students go home
- applying student disciplinary provisions
- Informing parents and carers
- reporting the matter to the police and the School Safety and Security Directorate
- reporting the matter to the Child Well Being Unit in line with mandatory reporting guidelines
- referring the student to the school counsellor
If a phone or other device is confiscated, action will be taken to securely store any mobile phone confiscated from a student. Under no circumstances will mobile phones be left in unlocked desk drawers, on teachers' tables or in staffrooms.
Arrangements will be made to return the mobile phone to the student at the conclusion of the school or institute day or as soon as practicable.
CAMERAS AND VIDEO CAMERAS
Is it illegal to film or photograph a person without their consent?
Generally no, though it is an offence to film for indecent purposes. The Crimes Act 1900 provides that a person will be guilty of an offence if he or she films or attempts to film, for the purposes of sexual gratification.
- another person who is engaged in a private act knowing the person being filmed does not consent to being filmed for that purpose
- another person's private parts knowing the person being filmed does not consent to being filmed for that purpose.
It is also an offence to install a device to facilitate filming for indecent purposes. The indecent filming provisions of the Crimes Act also apply to mobile phones with image capabilities.
Incidents of this nature that occur in schools should be reported to the police.
The school will use the Welfare and Discipline policy in response.
Guidelines for use
Phones and electronic devices must be switched off during all lessons and assemblies unless permission is given by the teacher to use the phone or electronic device as a learning tool.
If a student has a phone or other device on in class or assembly, a staff member will, in the first instance, direct the student to switch it off and put away. If a student refuses to follow this instruction or has the phone out again after it has been turned off, the Welfare and Discipline procedures will be used to respond to continued disobedience and defiance.
Introduction and reinforcement of Mobile Phone policy.
The policy will be discussed at the learning Support Team and executive meetings and ratified.
This information will be communicated to students through their Year Advisors at year meetings and assemblies.
The policy will be published on the school website and outlined in the school newsletter.
The policy will be published in the student and staff handbooks.