Sewanhaka updates internet safety guidelines

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Sewanhaka High School is seen in Floral Park. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

By Samuel Glasser

Internet training for students and staff was formally included in the Sewanhaka Central High School District’s internet safety regulations by the school board Tuesday night.

The action essentially updated the existing policy to make it compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, as is required to receive federal funding, Christopher Nelson, the district’s technology director, said.

“We took [the law’s] guidance and made it local,” Nelson said. The policy was always in place but the board’s action codified it, he added.

Students receive internet safety instruction at the start of the school year when they are taught how to do research and protect their data.

“The librarians take the lead,” Nelson said, and the instruction is reinforced by the classroom teachers throughout the year.

For example, social studies teachers might discuss the postings of “fake news” on the internet, while English teachers might discuss plagiarism, he said.

“The teachers will all talk about privacy issues; how what is written on the web is permanent, so think before you write,” Nelson said.

The internet instruction also includes proper online social etiquette, protection from online predators and personal safety and how to recognize and respond to cyberbullying.

Also on Tuesday, Superintendent Ralph Ferrie gave an update on the district’s capital projects.

“We are moving forward on phase three” of the work funded by an $86.5 million bond voters approved in 2014, Ferrie said.

The additions to Sewanhaka High School and Elmont Memorial High School are “moving well” and are expected to be ready by Sept. 1, he said.

The new auditorium at Floral Park Memorial should be finished before the Christmas holidays, Ferrie said.

The solar energy panels at Sewanhaka High School and New Hyde Park Memorial High School are generating power, and the new guidance offices at Elmont will open on May 1, Ferrie said.

The board also recognized student academic achievement. About 160 students were cited for their work in art, science, social studies and journalism.

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