Digital Citizenship

Online Access Protection

Hickory Public Schools (HPS) provides access to educational resources while making every effort to restrict access to potentially objectionable material. HPS will maintain a filter which protects against access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to students. HPS may monitor student access to the internet. Teachers and staff will personally monitor student activity on school premises as part of their normal oversight of the instructional environment.

Students will be required to access the internet through the HPS web filter on and off school campus while using school-issued devices. The filter will require students to authenticate using their HPS username and password to access the internet. This measure is to assist in preventing access to inappropriate content.  


There is no expectation of privacy with either the use of or the contents on the device and/or within cloud services.

Electronic messaging and transmitted data stored with HPS accounts shall not be considered confidential and may be monitored at any time by designated staff to ensure appropriate use.  

Although student-use outside the school environment is filtered using the HPS web filter, it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent/guardian to monitor online activity for students. Regardless of the method of monitoring, students are ultimately accountable for complying with HPS policies and the guidelines throughout this handbook.  

Filtering/Internet Access/Virus Protection

  • As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a current filtering solution is maintained by the district for school and home use on devices. The district cannot guarantee that access to all inappropriate sites will be blocked. It is the responsibility of the user to follow guidelines for appropriate use of the network and the internet. It is expected for students to be monitored while using the devices in both the school and home environments.
  • HPS will not serve as the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for home use. However, HPS will provide filtering of HPS digital devices while connecting to the internet away from school from home. In order for a student to access the internet, the parent/guardian must contract with an ISP (e.g., CenturyLink, Charter, etc.). Students will use their school devices to connect to the internet through the service and equipment provided/recommended by the ISP.    

Education, Supervision, and Monitoring

Posting information which would violate the laws pertaining to access by other students will be treated in the same manner according to the discipline plan for students and the regulations for employee conduct for staff.

All students and employees are expected to comply with the HPS Responsible Use Policy. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action as directed by district and/or school administration.  

Social Networks 

Social networking for joint participation in projects and other school related activities are valuable experiences which should be used with permission and with caution. The following activities are deemed unsafe practices and constitute a violation of responsible use:

to bully or threaten another person

to cheat on assignments that are confined to individual completion

for personal business

to share personal information (about self or others)

to communicate false or misleading information

to access or demonstrate inappropriate or objectionable content

Policies governing responsible behavior between adults and minors are applicable in online correspondence just as they would be with any in-person correspondence.

Digital Device Use 

Deployment: Parents/guardians / receiving devices for the first time, the following topics will be reviewed: expectations for care, use, and digital citizenship. The students and their parent/guardian must sign an agreement  before students will be permitted to take devices home. Students, parents and guardians are encouraged to ask questions and have a full understanding prior to signing the agreement.

Terms of Loan: HPS will loan a device to students for home and school educational use upon compliance with the district’s policies which will be shared during the orientation meeting and can be later accessed from, or printed by request from the school or district office.  Devices are property loaned to the school system and all users must comply with HPS policies and guidelines throughout this handbook. 

Restrictions: Legal title to the asset (device) is and all times remains with HPS. A student’s right of possession and use is limited to and conditional upon full and complete compliance with the following HPS school policies: Technology in the Educational Program (policy IFBG), Internet Safety (policy IFBGB), Web Page Development (policy IFBGC), Employee Use of Social Media (policy GAMA)

Students may be subject to loss of use, fees, disciplinary action and/or legal action in the event of intentional damage and/or violation of policies and guidelines as outlined throughout this handbook. 

to use the device terminates no later than the last day of the school year unless there is a reason for earlier termination by the district (e.g. drop-out, expulsion, and/or withdrawal, transfer to another school).


Students are required to turn in assigned devices on the designated day at the end of the school year or when leaving enrollment at the school. 

Failure to return the property by designated deadlines and the continued use may be considered unlawful appropriation of property.

In the event a student fails to return the assigned device by the designated date, the device will be reported as stolen property to local law enforcement and any associated damage or replacement costs will be assessed.

Loss, Theft, Damage, or Issues: Devices are recognized as valuable assets entrusted to students for care and maintenance during the school year. Students and families are expected to protect the equipment from damage, loss and theft and to secure the equipment when it is in their possession to prevent damage, loss or theft. 

In the event of loss or theft, the student/guardian must:

Report loss/theft immediately to the appropriate authorities (e.g., police department, security, etc.)  and no more than 24 hours of discovery. 

Obtain a theft report from authorities and submit report to the school office. 

To report damages or an issue with devices, students or parents/guardians must:

Complete the HPS Device Form available online at

 Obtain a printed copy of the HPS Device Form and submit to the school office on the next school day.

Revocation of Permission: HPS reserves the right to revoke permission to use the device at any time if the student does not fully comply with the HPS policies and the guidelines throughout this handbook. 

Modification to Program: HPS may modify these procedures or terms of use at any time.

Proper Use and Device Care 

Students are responsible for the devices they have been issued. Devices that are broken or not working properly and in need of repair or replacement must be reported within 24 hours. Students can submit the “HPS Device Form” online at  or from the school’s website. Employees will determine whether to repair the device on site or issue a loaner.  All associated repair/replacement fees will be assessed by school and district employees. If the student is responsible for intentional damage, the parent/guardian and student will be addressed by the principal or his/her designee to determine fees and disciplinary action. 

Proper Care Guidelines:
Close the lid before moving the device.

  • Never close objects between the lid and keyboard. 
  • Never attempt repair or reconfigure settings. 
  • Do not open or tamper with the internal components. 
  • Do not remove any screws - doing so will render the warranty void.
  • Take care when inserting cords, cables and other removable storage devices to avoid damaging ports.
  • Do not expose to extreme temperatures as 
  • using in direct sunlight or ultraviolet lighting for extended periods of time can cause damage.
  • leaving inside a vehicle for long periods of time can cause damage. 

Proper Storage:

Do not overload in carrying case/backpack.
Do not throw in carrying case/backpack - lay on a flat surface
Do not sit/stand on the device (even when it is in a backpack/carrying case).
DO NOT store food/drink (e.g., wrappers or bottles) in the same backpack/carrying case. 

Proper Use: 

Keep device on a flat, solid surface so that air can circulate (e.g., using device on a bed or carpet can cause damage due to overheating).

Keep away from liquids, food and other debris to avoid damages. 

Screen Care: Screens are very susceptible to damage from excessive pressure or weight.

Avoid picking up the device by the screen.

Avoid  placing your finger directly on the screen with any force.

Cleaning Devices 

Disconnect from the power outlet before cleaning.

Never use liquid cleaners. 

Clean the touchpad with lightly dampened cloth.

Clean the screen with a soft, lightly dampened, lint-free cloth or use anti-static screen cleaners or wipes.

Wash hands frequently to avoid buildup on the touchpad. 

Hand lotions can affect the functionality of the touchpad. 

Grease and dirt can cause the cursor to jump around on the screen.

Charging and Battery: Students are expected to bring devices to school with a fully charged battery. Students may be given the use of a loaner device however, repeated offenses will not be tolerated. Students leaving devices at home may be required to complete assignments using alternate means (as determined by the teacher).

For prolonged periods of inactivity, logout and power off to conserve battery. 

Devices are not allowed on overnight trips or field trips without the expressed written approval of the lead chaperone and the parent/guardian.

Students should abide by school-based procedures for use of the device during lunch periods and in areas of the building used for eating and drinking.

General Security 

Never leave devices unattended or in an unsecure location - use designated storage facilities (e.g., a secured locker) while at school and away from school. 

Devices may have labels/tags (e.g., bar- coded serial number, metal asset tags, etc.). Under no circumstances should labels be removed or modified. If labels or barcodes are removed, students should notify their teacher immediately and submit an HPS Device Form. 

Login Procedures: Students should never share passwords, usernames or other authentication credentials. Students are responsible for activities performed with their HPS username and password.

School Use: Students will use their unique HPS username and password. Always abide by HPS requirements for maintaining security of these credentials.

Home Use: Student HPS login credentials still apply when using HPS digital devices outside the school building. Home router passwords are not managed by HPS and must be managed with the support of the individual’s ISP (e.g., Verizon, Centurylink, Charter, etc.).

Copyright: Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all. "Copyright" is legal protection for creative intellectual works, which is broadly interpreted to cover just about any expression of an idea. Text (including email and web information) graphics, art, photographs, music and software are examples of types of works protected by copyright. Copying, distributing, downloading and uploading information on the internet may infringe the copyright for that information. Even an innocent, unintentional infringement violates the law.

Failure to follow the guidelines for use and care of devices will be addressed as specified in the HPS Student Code of Conduct and may result in disciplinary action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do devices require an internet connection? The device has full function when connected and limited capacity without an internet connection. Any work created while offline will automatically sync when connected to the internet. 

What if I don’t have wireless internet (Wi-Fi) at home? There are several internet service providers in the area (e.g., CenturyLink, Charter Spectrum, AT&T, etc.) There are also low cost options available based on need. Contact the HPS Administration Services at (828) 322-2855 for more information. There are also many free options throughout the city of Hickory and Catawba County including government buildings, libraries and local businesses. Keep in mind, the device can work in a limited capacity even when not connected. 

Will I be issued another device if mine gets lost, stolen, or damaged? There will be a limited number of loaner devices for day users.  After school officials assess damages, possible replacement fees and depending on the length of repair time, students may or may not be issued a “loaner” device. 

What if I fail to pay the associated damage or replacement fees if my device gets lost, stolen, or damaged and I do not comply with the requirements in this handbook? The fees will be added to student accounts for purposeful, negligent and irresponsible care of devices. This can also result in disciplinary action. 

Does my student have to take a device home? No. Parents/guardians should make arrangements to work with the principal to develop an appropriate plan for their student.  

Glossary of Words to Know

1 to 1 or 1:1 1:World  One device per student. Each student has a device, such as a laptop or tablet, for mobile learning.

Apps- Applications, or programs running software.

Chromebook- A device that runs the Chrome operating system.

Cloud Computing- Data and software is being managed and stored using remote servers (web-based). Basically, little or no data is stored on a cloud-based device.

Day User-  An individual who only has access to an device during the school day.  S/he must check out a device each morning and check it back in at the end of the school day.

Sync- Making files, programs, apps, bookmarks, etc. the same on multiple devices. 

Web-based- Apps and software that need access to the internet (web) in order to update and be fully functioning


Federal, state and local policies and laws specific to technology in education: 

Technology Responsible Use (policy IFGBA), Internet Safety (policy IFBGB), Employee Use of Social Media (policy GAMA) Legal References:  U.S. Const. amend. I; Children’s Internet Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5); Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 6777; G.S. 115C-325(e)

Cross References:  Technology in the Educational Program (policy IFBG), Internet Safety (policy IFBGB), Web Page Development (policy IFBGC), Employee Use of Social Media (policy GAMA

Full text of these policies are available at or printed copies can be made available by request to the individual school or the school system. 


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