University of San Diego Provides Guidelines for Electronic Communication Devices in Schools

Guidelines address student misuse of devices on and off school grounds through cyberbullying, sexting, harassment

USD launches website, will host conference January 13, 2011

The University of San Diego’s (USD) Center for Education Policy and Law (CEPAL) has completed a research project focused on setting guidelines for student misuse of electronic communication devices (ECD) both on school grounds and off. The law is evolving in this area, and much uncertainty exists. The purpose of this new website is help California school personnel understand the issues involved in EDC use and prepare policies and discipline rules accordingly.

California educators are working to capitalize on student familiarization with electronic communication devices (ECDs) by incorporating them in teaching, learning, and communicating. ECDs include computers, pagers, cell phones, smartphones, portable game units, graphing calculators, and similar means of communicating electronically directly or through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The emerging field of law that handles abuse of these ECDs, however, has very few guidelines.

CEPAL has studied all relevant case law in this emerging new field, and made recommendations for schools, students and parents to follow as to what the proper use of ECDs are and the steps to take when abuses occur.

Student use of ECDs at school and away from school can be abused.  Using a cell phone to take pictures in school locker room, to cheat on a classroom test, or to engage in cyberbullying of other students are examples. Student misuse of ECDs poses new challenges for school personnel to impose discipline. This is particularly true for off-campus misuse, given student free speech rights in the use of personal devices away from school.

Included are the following resources:

CEPAL will host a forum on Student Misuse of Electronic Communication Devices. More information to follow soon.

For more information, please visit us at:

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.