2007 -- S 1063

Enacted 06/21/07



J O I N T  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Senator John J. Tassoni

     Date Introduced: May 31, 2007



     WHEREAS, It is the policy of the State of Rhode Island to protect children, consumers,

and Rhode Island residents from deceptive and unsafe communications that result in harassment,

exploitation or physical, emotional and financial harm caused by cyber bullying, and cyber

threats; and

     WHEREAS, Children have easy access to the Internet at home, school, public places and

via portable electronic devices, and they are spending increasingly greater amounts of time

interacting on the Internet in the course of both research and socializing; and

     WHEREAS, Without providing warnings and raising students awareness of online risks

and dangers, pervasive Internet access and easy availability of online resources is likely to cause

some students to unknowingly engage in unsafe, unethical or unlawful practices; and

     WHEREAS, The Internet is used by sexual predators and other criminals to make contact

with and prey upon children and other vulnerable residents and non-residents in the State of

Rhode Island; and

     WHEREAS, Internet safety "awareness" programs are prolific and helpful but they are

not enough, especially since the risks and dangers associated with Internet use are as real and as

dangerous to students, and to society, as are the more familiar physical dangers addressed in

school safety plans and codes of conduct; and

     WHEREAS, Education in elementary and secondary schools is the best method for

achieving a culture of sustained safe and responsible online attitudes and behaviors and offering

the highest probability of success in preventing children and others from falling prey to predators,

identity theft and many other online victimizations and threats; and

     WHEREAS, It is in the best interest of the State of Rhode Island to provide students with

Internet safety education that includes both making them fully aware of the risks and dangers

associated with Internet use and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to

personally exercise safe and responsible attitudes and behaviors online; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence

Plantations hereby respectfully requests the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and

Secondary Education (RIDE) to develop age-appropriate, standards based curricula for Internet

safety instruction for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The purpose of developing

this curricula is to protect children from inappropriate or illegal Internet communications such as

cyber bullying and predatory solicitations, and to motivate school districts and schools to provide

comprehensive Internet safety education that goes beyond "awareness", and educates students by

providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully avoid the harmful

consequences associated with cyber threats, risks, predators, fraud, and other dangers they

encounter while using the Internet; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That in developing this curricula RIDE may work in partnership with

companies such as I-Safe, and any other agencies or organizations it deems appropriate; and be it


     RESOLVED, That RIDE shall consider including the following topics in the Internet

safety curricula: (1) Cyber Citizenship, where students shall be able to apply the concepts of

citizenship as they relate to interaction with people in the online society; (2) Digital

Communication, where students shall be enabled to act safely and responsibly in chat rooms,

email, web logs, and instant messaging; (3) Online Personal Safety, where students shall be

enabled to understand the risks of transmitting personal information on the Internet; (4) Cyber

Security, where students shall be enabled to identify types of malware and use techniques to

avoid computer viruses; (5) Predator Identification, where students shall be enabled to recognize,

avoid, and report online predator tactics and inappropriate behavior; and (6) Acceptable Use

Policies, which will enable students to understand the purpose of, and responsibilities undertaken,

when signing an Acceptable Use Policy; and be it further

     RESOLVED, The curricula developed shall be comprehensive, including all the known

risks and dangers on the Internet, while keeping with current teaching and learning theories, and

be aligned with national educational technology standards (NETS) and the State's educational

standards; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That RIDE shall report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of

Representatives, and the President of the Senate on or before February 1, 2008, and said report

shall include: (1) The draft curricula developed by the Rhode Department of Education, and(2)

Recommendations for implementing the curricula including: (a) Costs for school districts to

implement the program; (b) Qualifications for instructors; and (c) any barriers for statewide

implementation; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of

the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.