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Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act

December 3, 2008

Authors: Julie C. Fay, Christopher A. Tracey

The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act has placed new obligations on elementary and secondary schools receiving discounted internet service in conjunction with the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Services Fund (a program commonly known as the “E-Rate” Program).

Elementary and secondary schools participating in the E-Rate Program are now required to certify that they, as part of their internet safety policy, educate minor students about “appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyber-bullying awareness and response.”

Districts with schools participating in the E-Rate Program should amend their existing internet safety policy to reflect this new requirement. Affected districts should amend their internet safety and/or use of computer systems policies as quickly as possible, as the E-Rate Program application filing window for the 2009 fiscal year opened on December 2, 2008. The filing window closes on February 12, 2009.

The new legislation amends the Children’s Internet Protection Act, under which schools participating in the E-Rate Program were already required to certify compliance. The Children’s Internet Protection Act had previously required schools to have an internet safety policy.

If you have questions about this alert, please contact Julie Fay or Chris Tracey.

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