Though south Utah County will never be confused for a California beach, the Nebo School District has nevertheless posted a warning to employees and students: "No surfing allowed."
Or at least, what district officials call non-educational surfing.Nebo has revised its Internet policy to crack down on what it deems as inappropriate computer usage. District officials don't want students or employees using district computers to surf the Internet for personal business or accessing inappropriate Web sites.
"The machines are for educational purposes," said Superintendent Denis Poulsen. "We don't want our teachers or students surfing. Surfing (the Internet) is generally a waste of time."
Incidences of students and employees accessing, or attempting to access, questionable material on the Internet spurred the school board's decision to tighten up the policy, which will be put into effect this fall.
Poulsen added the "questionable" material umbrella covers anything deemed morally inappropriate as well as computer usage that is personal in nature and has nothing to do with school-related activities.
The 1,700 district employees and a sizable number of the 20,000 Nebo students, those who are enrolled in classes that contain computers, will be required to sign the Acceptable Use Agreement when they return to school in a few weeks. Those who signed one last year must sign a new one.
Violation of the agreement could result in termination of employees. For students who don't adhere to the policy it could mean the elimination of computer privileges.
While Poulsen affirms that Internet access has its place in today's classroom, computers must be used exclusively for research and learning.
"The Internet provides opportunity for research," he said. "What you find on the Internet is updated more than books on the shelves."
Nebo has a screening system in place that denies access to most inappropriate sites. The district also monitors which Web sites are accessed, by which computer and when. A list of sites accessed is printed daily at district offices. Weekend computer use is also monitored.
"As part of the agreement, teachers agree to be the main monitors of Internet usage within the classroom," Poulsen said.
Poulsen says the revised policy is timely since 100 new teachers will be joining the district and 400 computer stations will be added this school year.