Falmouth school officials are expanding their review of computer-use policies to include rules that apply to students.

The School Board wants to ensure that policies for students reflect the capabilities of rapidly evolving technology and mesh with revised policies that are being developed for staff members, said Chairwoman Analiese Larson.

“If we’re going to look at policies for staff members, it makes sense to look at policies for students,” Larson said Monday. “As a board, we’re committed to reviewing our computer policies at least every three years because technology is changing so fast.”

The board will begin discussing potential changes in computer-use policies for students during a workshop at 5:30 p.m. today in the Falmouth Elementary School cafeteria.

The policies emphasize the school district’s control over the use of laptops and other computer devices it provides to students, as well as any privately owned devices that students use in school, such as cellphones and tablets.

The policies prohibit students from using computers to send, download or display sexually explicit, threatening or discriminatory materials or to violate public laws or school rules, such as those against plagiarism, copyright infringement and other forms of cheating.

School officials may confiscate and search any computers used by students “if there is reasonable suspicion” that the policies have been violated.

The policies for students were adopted in 2002 and partially revised in 2010.

“I’m fairly certain there will be changes because they haven’t been (fully) updated 4in a while,” Larson said.

The board is revising similar nine-year-old policies for staff members that would, among other things, prohibit employees from using the district’s email system for political or religious purposes.

The email system also couldn’t be used to solicit membership in nonschool organizations, or raise money or sell items for nonschool purposes.

The proposed changes were prompted by emails sent in May and June by Karen Boffa, then principal of the Plummer-Motz Elementary School; and John Flaherty, then principal of the Lunt Elementary School. They are now co-principals of the new Falmouth Elementary School.

Each administrator sent candidate endorsements from their school email accounts to staff members and Superintendent Barbara Powers. About 140 people received the emails, copies of which were obtained by The Portland Press Herald.

In the emails, the principals asked Falmouth voters on their staffs to vote for certain candidates in the School Board and Town Council races, many of whom won. The principals sent what Powers called “retractions” just before the election.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]