Who has spring fever? The Form 471 deadline has passed, spring is here, the school year is almost over, and it’s time to think about summer vacation plans, right? Unfortunately, as anyone involved with E-rate knows, the E-rate is a 365 day program. You are likely managing many projects for multiple funding years, and there are invoicing and installation deadlines to worry about… not to mention responding to PIA questions for FY 2012 applications.

Speaking of FY 2012, come July 1, 2012, applicants will need to be compliant with new Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) rules that were released August 12, 2011. I would like to remind applicants of these new requirements for FY 2012. Applicants must verify that their Internet Safety Policies meet the new requirements. For many applicants this will require updating the Internet Safety Policy to include language about educating minors about appropriate online behavior and safety. The requirements fall into three main categories:

    Technology protection measure: An applicant must utilize a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access. The measure must protect against access to obscene material, child pornography or content that is harmful to minors.

    Internet safety policy: An applicant must have an Internet safety policy that addresses access by minors to inappropriate content on the Internet, the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms, social networking sites or other electronic communication, the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information, prohibitions against “hacking” and measures designed to restrict a minor’s access to harmful materials. In order to comply with the Children in the 21st Century Act, schools must address student education about appropriate online behavior and cyberbullying awareness.

    Public Notice and Hearing: An applicant must have a public hearing to discuss their Internet safety policy.

It is recommended that applicants maintain documentation to demonstrate that they have complied with all three CIPA requirements. Even for those of you with spring fever and daydreams about summer, it is critical to take steps to be compliant with the new requirements or funding could be in jeopardy!