The Commission has released the long-awaited Order1 adding statutory language from the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act (“PCCA”) to the existing Commission rules implementing the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) for the E-rate program. The Commission also took the opportunity to revise its current rules to more closely reflect the statutory language from the CIPA. The following are key items required of schools making their certification:

  • Internet safety policy must educate minors about: “appropriate online behavior,” how to interact with others on social network sites and in chat rooms, and being aware of and responding to cyberbullying;
  • Schools and libraries must enforce their technology protection measures while their Internet is in use;
  • Schools are required to maintain their Internet safety policies for at least five years after the last day of service delivered in a particular funding year.

Background

Since 2001, schools and libraries that have computers with Internet access have been required to certify that they have in place specific Internet safety policies and technology protection measures. The Commission’s current rules require that Internet safety policies must include a technology protection measure that protects both adults and minors from viewing obscenity or child pornography, and, with respect to viewing by minors, images that would be harmful to minors. The rules also require schools to certify that their Internet safety policy includes monitoring Internet use by minors.

Congress passed the PCCA in 2008. Pursuant to the PCCA, in addition to the current CIPA requirements, schools, school boards, local education agencies, or other school administrators must certify that their Internet safety policy also educates minors about “appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking.