2016 Georgia Code
Title 20 - Education
Chapter 2 - Elementary and Secondary Education
Article 6 - Quality Basic Education
Part 15 - Miscellaneous Provisions
§ 20-2-324. Internet safety policies in public schools
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Acceptable-use policy" means a policy for Internet usage adopted by a local board of education that meets the requirements of this Code section.
(2) "Child pornography" means any computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in sexually explicit conduct or in the simulation of such conduct.
(3) "Harmful to minors" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-100.1.
(4) "Internet" means a global network that connects computers via telephone lines, fiber networks, or both to electronic information.
(5) "Obscene" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-80.
(6) "Sexually explicit conduct" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-100.
(b) No later than January 1, 2007, each local board of education shall adopt an acceptable-use policy for its school system. At a minimum, an acceptable-use policy shall contain provisions which are reasonably designed to:
(1) Prevent students and employees of the school system from using any computer equipment and communication services owned or leased by the school system for sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, or material that is harmful to minors;
(2) Establish appropriate measures to be taken against students and school employees who willfully violate the acceptable-use policy; and
(3) Provide for expedited review and resolution of a claim that the policy is denying a student or school employee access to material that is not within the prohibition of the acceptable-use policy.
(c) A local board of education shall take such steps as it deems appropriate to implement and enforce the acceptable-use policy, which shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Use of software programs reasonably designed to block access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors; or
(2) Selection of online servers that block access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors.
(d) Each local school system shall provide, upon written request of a parent or guardian, a copy of the acceptable-use policy adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section.
(e) The Attorney General and the department shall consult with and assist any local board of education in the development and implementation of an acceptable-use policy pursuant to this Code section.
(f) (1) No later than January 31, 2007, each local board of education shall submit a copy of the acceptable-use policy adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section to the State Board of Education. Such submission shall also include the identification of any software program or online server that is being utilized to block access to material in accordance with subsection (c) of this Code section.
(2) The State Board of Education shall review each acceptable-use policy and any subsequent revisions submitted pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection. If the state board determines after review that a policy or revision is not reasonably designed to achieve the requirements of this Code section, the state board shall provide written notice to the local board of education explaining the nature of such noncompliance and the local board of education shall have 30 days from the receipt of written notice to correct such noncompliance. The state board may provide an extension to the 30 day period on a showing of good cause.
(3) No revision of an acceptable-use policy which has been approved by the state board pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be implemented until such revision is approved by the state board. If the state board fails to disapprove the revision within 60 days after the submission is received, the local board of education may proceed with the implementation of the revision.
(4) The state board shall be authorized to withhold a portion of state funding to a local school system if the local board of education:
(A) Fails to timely submit an acceptable-use policy in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection;
(B) Submits an acceptable-use policy that is not reasonably designed to achieve the requirements of this Code section; or
(C) Is not enforcing or is substantially disregarding its acceptable-use policy.
(5) If the state board disapproves an acceptable-use policy of a local board of education or any revision thereof or notifies the local board of education that it is subject to the withholding of funding pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection, the local board of education may appeal the decision to the superior court of the county where the local board of education is situated.
(g) (1) The state board shall be responsible for conducting investigations and making written determinations as to whether a local board of education has violated the requirements of this Code section.
(2) If the state board determines that a local board of education is in violation of the requirements of this Code section, it shall direct the local board of education to acknowledge and correct the violation within 30 days and to develop a corrective plan for preventing future recurrences.
(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section to the contrary, an administrator or supervisor of a local school system, or designee thereof, may disable the software program or online server that is being utilized to block access to material for an adult or for a minor who provides written consent from his or her parent or guardian to enable access to the Internet for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.
(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be construed to permit any person to have access to material the character of which is illegal under federal or state law.
(i) A local board of education which is fulfilling the requirements of the federal Children's Internet Protection Act, P.L. 106-554, is not required to comply with this Code section.
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