On December 21, 2000, the Children’s Internet Protection
Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection
Act (N-CIPA) were signed into law under one piece of legislation,
collectively called the Children’s Internet Protection Act.
CIPA is part of a larger federal appropriations act (H.R.4577).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the Children’s
Internet Protection Act Report and Order on April 5, 2001. This
FCC order specifies the regulations for compliance with CIPA under
the E-rate (Universal Service) program. On October 10, 2008, Congress
updated CIPA through the
Broadband Data Services Improvement Act to include changes for the 21st century. More recently, the FCC provided guidance for compliance to schools and libraries participating in the E-rate program.
Under this legislation, public schools that have computers with Internet access must meet CIPA guidelines to be eligible for E-rate discounts on Internet access, Internet services or internal connections. In West Virginia, this affects every school in the state since Internet access fees to WVNET is paid through these federal funds.
The original FCC Report & Order required a public meeting, an Internet safety policy, filtering technology and monitoring to be in compliance with CIPA. The update requires that the Internet safety policy be updated and schools must certify that, as part of their Internet safety policy, they are educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including cyber bullying awareness and response and interacting with other individuals on social networking sites and in chat rooms, but does not require a new public meeting unless local or state law requires such. The FCC Sixth Report and Order (10-175A1) also clarified requirements for docmentation and offered more guidance.
“The authority with responsibility for administration of the school or library must provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing to address a proposed Technology Protection Measure and Internet Safety Policy.”
Documentation requirements have always required applicants to maintain all documentation of the notification of the public and of this meeting . The Sixth Report and Order from the FCC allows applicants who have either not maintained the required documentation of this meeting to cure the loss. Going forward, this documentation will continue to be required and is clarified by what documents may be provided in the order.
Internet safety policy:
The Internet safety policy must address:
Filtering technology: “Technology protection measure” must be used to protect both minors and adults against visual depictions that are (1) obscene, or, (2) child pornography, or, with respect to use of computers with Internet access by minors, (3) harmful to minors.
The filtering technology must be addressed in the Internet safety policy and the administrative authority must enforce the operation of such filtering or blocking technology during any use of such computers by minors.
Monitoring: “A school administrative authority must certify that its policy of Internet safety includes monitoring the online activities of minors.”
Compliance: On the FCC Form 486, applicants certify compliance with the CIPA requirements as of the start of services. Therefore, the applicant must be in compliance when service begins. Discounts or reimbursements can only be given if the applicant is in compliance. Noncompliance with CIPA will result in the loss of E-rate funding for the time period of noncompliance.
The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) will not request documentation with the Form 486, but documentation must be kept by the applicant for five years under the E-rate program and be made available at any time upon request of the FCC. Make certain to document the public meeting, Internet safety policy revisions, and filtering procurement process. Certification is done on an annual basis.
Form 479: Since schools are part of a statewide application, there is an additional form that will be required by the FCC/SLD. Any applicants that are part of a consortium (someone else is the billed entity) must submit signed certifications on the FCC Form 479 to the billed entity (WVDE in this case) that leads the consortium. These forms are NOT sent to the SLD or FCC, but rather kept on file at the WVDE. If a school is part of more than one consortium, the FCC Form 479 will have to be sent to each of the consortium leaders.
Letter of Agency (LOA): Since the WVDE applies on behalf of the schools in West Virginia, a Letter of Agency is collected by the WVDE every three years for each county prior to submission of the Form 471.
Additional questions on CIPA for West Virginia can be directed to Julia Benincosa Legg at 304.558.7880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online resources:FCC CIPA Order
FCC Sixth Report and Order
FCC CIPA Information
Thomas: Legislative Information
Broadband Data Services Improvement Act
Schools and Libraries Division
West Virginia Policy 2460 (Educational Purpose and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources, Technologies and the Internet)