Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy


This policy applies to all students and staff who have access to, and are users of, the digital resources in St. Columba’s Comprehensive School. It is applicable in conjunction with the school’s Code of Behaviour; Digital Learning Plan and Data Protection Policy.

The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is to ensure that students will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s digital resources in a safe, effective and ethical manner. It also aims to ensure that digital interactions are respectful and positive and are conducive to the wellbeing of students and staff. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. If the school AUP is not adhered to, this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions will be imposed.

This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis by representatives of the school community under the guidance of the Board of Management.

The school’s strategy

The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with online teaching and learning. These strategies include:


  • Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if the school Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is not adhered to, this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate action will be taken as outlined in this AUP, the School Code of Behaviour and Anti Bullying policy.
  • Open internet sessions in class will always be supervised by a teacher.
  • Filtering software and/or equivalent systems will be used where appropriate in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
  • The school reserves the right to regularly monitor users’ internet usage.
  • Each student and staff member will be issued with a school email account for educational purposes and school business only.
  • Students and teachers will be provided with training in the area of internet usage and safety.
  • Uploading/downloading and installation of non-approved software is prohibited. Requests for the installation of new software must be made in writing to the school’s ICT Co-ordinator.
  • Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
  • The use of digital storage media (e.g. USB drives) in school requires a teacher’s permission. All users will be encouraged to store their work and notes in their Office 365 data storage facility.

When using the internet all users are expected:

  • To treat others with respect at all times. Internet users must not send, receive or publish any material that is obscene, illegal and defamatory or that is intended to demean, disrespect or intimidate another person.
  • Not to undertake or incite others to engage in any activities that may bring the school into disrepute.
  • To respect the right to privacy of all other members of the school community.
  • To respect copyright and acknowledge creators when using online content or resources.

Student access to the internet while on the school premises is allowed solely through the school WiFi. Safe internet use will be actively promoted through SPHE and Computer classes and also by awareness talks from outside agencies, e.g. the Gardaí. It is also supported through the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-bullying policies.

Web Browsing and Downloading

  • Users will not intentionally visit internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials or attempt to circumvent protective software. Users taking steps to bypass the content filter by using proxy sites or other means may be subject to disciplinary action as this action would be a breach of the school’s and the Department of Education’s security settings.
  • Users will report accidental accessing of inappropriate materials to the Deputy Principal or Principal
  •  Students will use the internet for educational purposes only.
  • Students will not copy information into assignments and fail to acknowledge the source (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
  • Users will never disclose or publicise personal information.
  • Downloading materials or images which are not relevant to their studies is prohibited.
  • Users will be made aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
  • Use of file-sharing and torrent sites is strictly prohibited.

Email/Internet Communication

  • All school users will use their Office 365 email address for all school-related work and communication. Parental/Guardian permission will be sought for students’ registration.
  • Users will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene and/or defamatory, or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
  • Users will respect one another’s right to disconnect outside of work hours. The exception to this is the uploading of homework.
  • Students will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
  • Students should never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or other online communication.
  • Internet chat/social networking sites: students will only have access to chat rooms, discussion forums, messaging or other forms of electronic communication that have been approved by the school.
  • Where appropriate, usernames will be used to avoid disclosure of identity.

Office 365

The school uses the Office 365 platform for staff and students.

  • Students must only use their allocated username and password to log on to the school network and to the school domain on Office 365.
  • Students must not share their usernames/password with any other student and must ensure their own log-in details remain private.
  • Students must not log onto the schools network or Office 365 using login credentials (usernames/ passwords) other than their own.
  • Students are expected to behave respectfully towards the teachers and other students when using the chat function, Teams, Forms and other collaborative tools.
  • There will be time limits on passwords as a security measure.

Images, Video and Voice Recordings

  • Care should be taken when taking photographic or video images that students are appropriately dressed and not participating in activities that might bring the individuals or the school into disrepute.
  • Students must not take, use, share, publish or distribute images of others without their permission.
  • As part of CBAs students may be required to use images, video and/or voice recordings. Students are allowed to use personal internet-enabled devices during lessons only with the expressed permission and specific instruction from teaching staff.
  • Taking photos or videos on school grounds or when participating in school activities is only allowed with expressed permission and specific instruction from teachers and in keeping with the consent given by parents/guardians.
  •  Photographs, videos or any other types of image of other pupils and (or their families) or photographs / any other types of image/videos depicting staff members, must not be shared or published on personal or public web space.
  • Images/videos must not be downloaded, duplicated, modified, shared, printed, or scanned – in whole or in part.
  •  Sharing explicit images and in particular explicit images of students and/or minors is an offence and therefore absolutely prohibited behaviour and must be reported to the relevant authorities i.e. the Gardaí.
  • It is prohibited to make video or audio recordings of live school/class meetings on Teams or Zoom.


  • The prevention of cyberbullying in an integral part of the Anti-Bullying policy of our school.
  • Measures are taken to ensure that staff and students are aware that bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time. This definition includes cyberbullying.
  • When using the internet students, parents and staff are expected to treat others with respect at all times.
  • Engaging in online activities with the intention to harm, harass or embarrass another student or member of staff is unacceptable and an absolutely prohibited behaviour, with serious consequences and sanctions for those involved.

School Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts

  • The School Website, (; Facebook page (Chaps at the Comp); Twitter (@Comp Sport) and Instagram (@thecompty) accounts will be regularly checked by school staff to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety, privacy or reputation of students or staff.
  • Web pages allowing comments or user-generated content will be pre-moderated and checked frequently to ensure that they do not contain any inappropriate or offensive content.
  • Students’ personal information including home address and contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
  •  Students will continue to own copyright to any work published.


Misuse of the school’s digital resources may result in disciplinary action in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour and Ant-bullying policy. These sanctions include written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges and, in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. 

The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.


The school will make available, information on the following legislation relating to use of the Internet which teachers, students and parents should familiarise themselves with:

Harassment, Harmful Communication and Related Offences Act 2020 (known as Coco’s Law)

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018

Data Protection Acts (1988 -2003)

Children First Act 2015

Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998

Interception Act 1993

Video Recordings Act 1989

Signed: _____________________                                  Signed: _______________________

              Fr. James Sweeney, Chairperson                                      Frances Boner, Principal

Date:    17/05/2021                                                                              Date: 17/05/2021