The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know

The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know

The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know

The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know


With its easily obtainable wealth of information, the Internet has proven to be both a boon and a challenge for today's public schools. Teachers can download lesson plans and participate in online professional development courses; students can access new research and chat with other students around the world. But with technological innovation come legal pitfalls, where issues such as free expression, privacy, and copyright take on a whole new dimension.

The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know provides a clear and in-depth discussion of the key legal issues public schools face in using the Web, e-mail, and other computer technologies. As an educator and an attorney, Kathleen Conn brings a unique and informed perspective to this changing arena, succinctly identifying and examining major risks for schools and the specific case law that shapes these issues, including:

• First Amendment protection for teachers and students,

• Filtering and blocking technology for obscene material,

• Use of students' personal information and education records,

• Downloading and storing of copyrighted material,

• Fair use,

• Defamation in Internet communications, and

• E-mail harassment.

To help educators handle these issues, Conn offers sound advice in developing policies that comply with the law while safeguarding the school or district. As the use of technology in schools continues to evolve, teachers, administrators, and school staff must stay aware of the law that governs it. The Internet and the Law provides the solid legal grounding that every educator needs.


“What is the smart thing to do?”

“What kinds of policies and procedures do we need?”

“How has the Internet changed the rules?”

Under the best of circumstances, public school leaders encounter many situations and decisions that require a solid grounding in court decisions and legal issues. Smart districts adopt guidelines and procedures to reduce risk and standardize legal responses. But, no matter how hard they might try to create documents to govern every foreseeable incident or challenge, real problems will still require the application of good sense and judgment.

Here is where The Internet and the Law: What Educators Need to Know proves itself a major asset to any school, school district, or school leader. It offers many suggestions for new guidelines, procedures, and documents, but it also defines a range of choices within each major legal category, leaving considerable room for common sense and good judgment.

When it comes to the Internet, public school leaders face a combination of urgency and uncertainty because neither legislators nor the courts have yet provided clear answers to many of the problems that are emerging. Without a thick body of case law and precedents to define what is legal and what is not, the best school . . .

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