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1994 – Alabama held its first Educational Technology Conference. The conference is dedicated to improving educators’ understanding of technology for classroom use, but is open to anyone interested in the field.
1998 – Alabama has participated in the E-Rate Program since its launch. The State Department of Education provides support and training for schools who apply for technology discounts through the program.
1999 – The state passed its Child Protection Act for schools, mandating a procedure for conducting criminal history background checks on applicants for certification, employment, and for current employees under review in schools. The intent of the law is to protect children from those who may inflict physical or mental injury or abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, or maltreatment or other mistreatment upon children.
2005 – The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) ran a two-year program called the 21st Century Learners Project through 2007, funded by Microsoft. Output included a wiki which contains help for teachers and an array of information produced by students on a range of topics including Internet safety. The wiki is still being updated by teaching staff and has current information as well as archived data. Part of the program involved training teachers to use the Internet effectively and safely as a training aid.
2007 – The Alabama Quality Teaching Standards were adopted, requiring teachers to have “knowledge of safe, responsible, legal, and ethical uses of technologies including fair-use and copyright guidelines and Internet-user protection policies.”
The same year, the state’s five-year strategic plan for K-12 technology, IMPACT (Indicators for Measuring Progress in Advancing Classroom Technology) states that one of its goals is that “all Alabama students, teachers, and administrators will have access to the appropriate technology resources and infrastructure necessary to support teaching, leading, and learning.” The program works collaboratively with other state initiatives to provide technical assistance to districts and schools on current Internet security tools and Internet safety practices and runs until 2012.
2008 – The Alabama Course of Study for Technology Education integrated technology curriculum and internet safety lessons into state schools. The curriculum recognizes the importance of the Internet as an educational resource and states that teachers carry a responsibility to teach safety messages when assigning Internet research to students. The document provides Internet safety standards which covers various topics, including how to protect personal information, the avoidance of online predators and cyberbullying. Students from as early as kindergarten are required to be able to identify and safely exit inappropriate websites, while from Grade 6 all pupils should know about the dangers and consequences of computer crimes such as cyberbullying and phishing.
2009 – Alabama passed the Student Harassment Prevention Act. The law defines harassment as a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on school property, including, but not limited to, written, electronic, verbal, or physical acts, motivated by any attribute of the harassed student or his/her relationship with an individual who has a particular characteristic, that may do any of the following: place a student in fear of personal harm or harm to his property; interfere with the victim’s educational performance or opportunities; disrupt the orderly operation of the school; create a hostile environment in the school or create an intimidating or threatening educational environment for the victim. The law requires that schools develop programs to encourage students to report and address incidents of harassment, violence, or threats of violence, and sets forth a model policy against student harassment.
2010 – The State Department of Education published the report, “Technology in Alabama Public Schools.” It found that teachers felt comfortable using technology for improving personal productivity, and for analyzing student achievement data, and school communities felt strongly that technology education is critical for the 21st century. The student to computer ratio improved slightly, from 4.3:1 in 2007 to 3.4:1 in 2009.
2011 – At a state government level, the ConnectingALABAMA initiative is underway. This multi-year program is designed to make broadband available in all areas of the state and aims to use broadband technology to enhance education and public safety, in addition to other areas of focus. In April 2011, the program was currently in the process of mapping wireless hotspots throughout Alabama, providing laptops and tablets to school children, organizing a youth committee to explore broadband capabilities, and setting up a computer redistribution program designed train people to refurbish old computers and recycle them.
After inclement weather conditions led to two missed school days in Mountain Brook, Alabama, in January 2011, the school was required by law to make up these days. An already-full school calendar led the officials to implement full e-School days on April 23rd and May 7th, 2011. This was only possible as 98% of Mountain Brook’s students have Internet access at home, whilst the remaining 2% worked from the public libraries or used laptops loaned from the school. Students were not required to physically attend school, but accessed lessons online which had been designed by their teachers. The experiment was considered a success as the feedback received by parents, students and educators was highly positive.
The same year, Auburn University hosted its first Anti-Bullying Summit. The summits focus on sharing information and research on school bullying, including cyberbullying. These annual events are designed to foster ongoing coalitions for educators, student leaders, mental health practitioners, researchers and policymakers on this issue.
2013 – The Alabama State Board of Education released its education plan to run through 2020. One of the plan’s objectives is to provide schools with the resources to create 21st century learning environments, including infrastructure, building renovations and technology. It advocates for using technology in the teaching of all content areas, facilitating the use of technology and evaluating students’ proficiency, and fostering the ethical use of technology.
2015 – Alabama’s e-school days continue, allowing schools to give students instruction and assignments on teachers’ professional development days. Internet access is available at libraries for students who do not have internet access at home.
Also in 2015, Alabama Act 2015-89 became law, requiring every local board of education to adopt a policy that provides a virtual school option for students in grades 9-12. The policy must be adopted before the start of the 2016-2017 school year. The act also creates a legislative task force to recommend the implementation of virtual schools programs.
2-1-1 Connects Alabama
This network lists call centers, support groups and services throughout the state for survivors of sexual assault, rape and incest, including childhood sexual abuse.
ACCESS Virtual Learning
Alabama’s online distance learning program works to ensure equal access to high-quality education through use of technology and create an infrastructure to deliver learning opportunities.
Alabama 21st Century Community Learning Centers
This U.S. Department of Education program provides grants to schools, community, youth development groups and faith-based organizations, so that they can provide learning opportunities outside of regular school hours in a safe environment.
Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
This organization provides a hotline, and explains the warning signs of teen dating violence on its website. It also provides safety planning tips for children and teens in abusive situations.
Alabama Coalition Against Rape
The coalition engages in training, education, advocacy, support and networking to combat sexual assault and rape, including that against minors, throughout the state.
Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
This department funds community programs to prevent child maltreatment, and advocates for children and families.
Alabama Department of Human Resources
The Department offers child protective services statewide, including child abuse and neglect reporting, and information for mandatory reporters of such crimes.
Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
The Task Force was created in 2000 to reduce child victimization and protect children in the state. Its website contains internet safety tips for kids, teens and parents.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
This site contains public safety information aimed at children, teens and parents, including the state sex offender registry. The department, in collaboration with the State Education Department and the Alabama Geographic Information Office, created the Virtual Alabama School Safety System. The system was the first in the country to make all school safety plans digitally available to first responders.
Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
A service provided by the Department of Education, ALEX offers educators and students web resources and online workspace. Teachers can access a variety of lesson plans and online information, designing classroom activities tailored to their needs.
Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers
This network of centers are provide direct intervention services to sexually abused children who are referred by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The centers assist the state government in interviewing, counseling, and tracking cases and testimony on behalf of children. In addition to support services, the centers also offer training to recognize warning signs and prevent abuse.
Alabama Public Television
The public television station’s IQ Learning Network has databases of media resources to enhance online education and professional development.
Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN)
AREN provides internet access and related services to all public schools, colleges, universities and libraries throughout the state.
Alabama State Department of Education
The State Department of Education is responsible for all primary and secondary education in Alabama. Its Educational Technology office aids educators in planning, implementing and using technology by providing resources, professional development, funding guidance and technical assistance. The Department’s Information Systems office is responsible for database management, software development, technical support, and data management and analysis throughout the school system.
Alabama Supercomputer Authority
This state-funded organization administers the Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN) and the Alabama Supercomputer Center. It provides a comprehensive range of IT resources and services for the advancement of education, research and economic development.
Alabama Virtual Library
AVL provides citizens of Alabama with equitable online access to library and information resources.
eLearning for Educators Alabama
This website is Alabama’s implementation of the E-Learning for Educators Initiative, and offers professional development for teachers. The project partners with the State Department of Education’s Technology in Motion program and Alabama Public Television.
House of Ruth Southeast Alabama
This nonprofit organization provides emergency shelter and services to women and children who have experienced abuse. Services include a hotline, therapy, support groups, advocacy, legal assistance, and dating violence programs for youth, among other provisions.
State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General
The Alabama Attorney General’s office provides internet safety guidelines for parents, information on cybersecurity threats and explains the sex offender registry system.
Stop Bullying in Alabama
This website, provided by the State Department of Education, offers anti-bullying resources for students, parents, teachers and school administrators. This includes information on laws and policies, reporting tools and expert advice, for both in-person and online bullying.
Technology in Motion
This program gives free, technology-focused professional development opportunities to teachers. It offers services, materials and training to help teachers create technology-rich classrooms and learning environments.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: Alabama State Report (2016)National Human Trafficking Resource Center
This report compiles 2015 data on human trafficking, including the number of reports made to NHTRC and demographic data on the state's trafficking victims.
Alabama Public Education at a Glance (2014)T. Rains, J. West, A. Mitchell
This report provides an overview of the public education system in Alabama, including enrollment, demographics and test performance.
An Analysis of Alabama School Systems' Policy on Student Bullying (2013)C. Townsend
The purpose of this study was to determine the present status of bullying policies in Alabama and to compare local educational agency’s policies with state and national guidelines.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
The age of consent in Alabama is 16 years old.
Unless otherwise specified, felonies in the state of Alabama are sentenced as follows and include hard labor:
- Class A felony: terms of imprisonment are from ten years to life, and may not exceed 99 years. For offenses where a firearm or deadly weapon is used or for certain criminal sex offenses against children the minimum term of imprisonment is 20 years.
- Class B felony: terms of imprisonment range from two years to 20 years. For offenses where a firearm or deadly weapon is used of for certain criminal sex offenses against children the minimum term of imprisonment is ten years.
- Class C felony: terms of imprisonment range from a year and a day to a maximum of ten years. For offenses where a firearm or deadly weapon is used of for certain criminal sex offenses against children the minimum term of imprisonment is ten years.
Unless otherwise specified, misdemeanors in the state of Alabama are sentenced as follows:
- Class A misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to one year.
- Class B misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to six months.
Class C misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to three months.
- Alabama Criminal Code (ACC) 13A-6-43. Kidnapping in the First Degree. Defines the offense as abducting another person with intent to, among other things, abuse the victim sexually. This is deemed to be a Class A felony. -ACC 13A-6-45. Interference with Custody. A person commits this offense if he/she knowingly takes or entices a child under the age of 18 from the lawful custody of his/her parent or guardian. A person does not commit an offense if his/her sole purpose is to assume lawful control of the child. An offense is a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-6-61. Rape in the First Degree. Defines the offense of a person engaging in sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex by forcible compulsion, or where the offender is over 16 and the victim is under 12. The crime is deemed to be a Class A felony.
- ACC 13A-6-62. Rape in the Second Degree. States, among other things, that it is a crime for a person to engage in sexual intercourse with a child of the opposite sex aged between 12 and 16 when the offender is aged over 16 and is at least two years older than the victim. This is classified as a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-6-63. Sodomy in the First Degree. Defines the offense of a person who is aged at least 16 engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by force, or where the offender is over 16 and the victim is under 12. This crime is deemed to be a Class A felony.
- ACC 13A-6-64. Sodomy in the Second Degree. Defines the offense of a person who is aged at least 16 engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person aged between 12 and 16, when the offender is at least two years older than the victim. This is classified as a Class B felony offense.
- ACC 13A-6-65.1. Sexual Torture. Defines the offense of penetrating the vagina, mouth or anus of another person with an inanimate object, by forcible compulsion, without consent and with the intent to sexually torture or abuse the victim. Consent is irrelevant where the victim is under 12 and the offender is over the age of 16. This is defined as a Class A felony.
- ACC 13A-6-67. Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree. States, among other things, that where an offender is over 19 and they subject another person, aged under 16 but over the age of 12, to sexual contact they commit this offense. This is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it is a second offense committed within a year of the first, in which case it is upgraded to a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-6-69. Enticing Child to Enter Vehicle, House, etc., for Immoral Purposes. This section defines the offense of a person enticing (or attempting to entice) a child under 16 years of age to enter a vehicle, room, house, office, or other place for the purpose of (among other definitions) fondling the child, requesting that the child fondle the person, or committing sodomy or an aggravated assault on the child. The offense is deemed to be a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-6-69.1. Sexual Abuse of a Child Less than 12 Years Old. States that where a child under 12 is subjected to sexual contact by an offender who is over the age of 16, a Class B felony is committed.
- ACC 13A-6-81. School employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years. A person commits this offense if he/she is a school employee and engages in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under 19 years old, regardless of the student’s gender. Consent is not a defence to such a charge. An offense is a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-6-82. School employee having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19 years. A person commits this crime if he/she is a school employee and engages in sexual contact with a student under 19 years old, regardless of the student’s gender. Consent is not a defense under this section. An offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
- ACC 13A-6-83. Paid administrative leave; disciplinary action. A school employee charged under section 13A-6-81 or 13A-6-82 may be placed on administrative leave while the charge is adjudicated. Upon adjudication of the charge, further disciplinary action may be taken in accordance with provisions applying to that school employee.
- ACC 13A-6-111. Transmitting Obscene Material to a Child by Computer. This section states that it is a criminal offense to transmit to a child, by means of any communication system, any material which depicts nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse for the purpose of initiating or engaging in sexual acts with the child. The offense is deemed to be a Class B felony. In addition, offenders under this section will be tried as adults and the record of the proceeding may not be sealed or expunged.
- ACC 13A-6-121. Facilitating Solicitation of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Child. This section states that anyone who compiles, enters into or transmits by use of computer or otherwise, any child’s name, telephone number, place of residence or other geographical location, physical characteristics, or other descriptive or identifying information for the purpose of facilitating, encouraging, offering, or soliciting unlawful sexual conduct of or with any child, or the visual depiction of such conduct, is guilty of a Class C felony. The same applies to anyone who buys, sells, receives, exchanges, or disseminates any notice, statement, or advertisement for any of the information relating to a child as mentioned above.
- ACC 13A-6-122. Electronic Solicitation of a Child. States that it is an offense utilize a computer, online service, Internet service, Internet bulletin board service, weblog, cell phone, video game system, personal data assistant, telephone, fax machine, camera, USB drive, writable CD, magnetic storage device, floppy disk, or any other electronic communication or storage device in order to entice, induce, persuade, seduce, prevail, coerce, lure, prevail, or order a child who is at least three years younger than the offender, to meet with the offender or another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse, sodomy, a sexual performance, or other sexual conduct. An offense is a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-6-123. Facilitating the Online Solicitation of a Child. States that any owner or operator of an online service, weblog, Internet service or online bulletin board who knowingly permits another person to use the service for the purpose committing an offense under this Article (Article 6A – Solicitation of Children by Electronic Means) or who aids or abets another person to do so, is guilty of a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-6-124. Traveling to Meet a Child for an Unlawful Sexual Act. This section states that it is a Class A felony for anyone to travel, attempt to do so, or knowingly cause another to do so for the purpose of engaging in any unlawful sexual act with a child.
- ACC 13A-6-125. Facilitating the Travel of a Child for an Unlawful Sexual Act. Defines the offense of facilitating, arranging, providing, or paying for the transport of a child for the purposes of engaging in an unlawful sexual act with the child. This is deemed to be a Class A felony.
- ACC 13A-6-127. Defenses. States that it is not a valid defense to a charge under this Article (Article 6A – Solicitation of Children by Electronic Means) that the meeting did not occur.
- ACC 13A-6-152. Human Trafficking in the First Degree. Defines the offense as to knowingly obtain, recruit, entice, induce, solicit, isolate, threaten, hold, harbor, transport, restrain, maintain or provide any minor for the purpose of causing him/her to engage in sexual servitude. This is deemed to be a Class A felony. Any person who obstructs, or attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section shall be guilty of a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-6-153. Human Trafficking in the Second Degree. Defines the offense as to knowingly benefit, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participating in a venture or engagement for the purpose of sexual or labor servitude. Knowingly recruiting, enticing, soliciting, inducing, harboring, transporting, holding, restraining, providing, maintaining, subjecting or obtaining a person for the purpose of labor or sexual servitude is also an offense under this section. An offense is a Class B felony. Any person who obstructs, or attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
- ACC 13A-8-103. Acts constituting offense against computer equipment or supplies; punishment. A person who willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or reasonable grounds to believe he has such authorization, modifies equipment or supplies that are used or intended to be used in a computer, computer system, or computer network commits an offense against computer equipment or supplies. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor. If the offense was committed for the purpose of devising or executing a scheme to defraud or obtain property, the charge increases to a Class C felony. A person who willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he has such authorization, destroys, uses, takes, injures, or damages equipment or supplies used or intended to be used in a computer, computer system, or computer network, or whoever willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he has such authorization, destroys, injures, takes, or damages any computer, computer system, or computer network also commits this offense and is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. If the damage to the computer equipment or supplies, or to the computer, computer system or network is worth $2,500 or more, or if it interrupts or impairs a government or other public service, the offender is guilty of a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-11-8. Harassment or Harassing Communications. Defines harassment as (among other things) physical acts or threats and harassing communications as verbal or written communications, which explicitly includes via electronic means, and classifies the offense as a Class C misdemeanor.
- ACC 13A-11-163. Defamation. States that anyone who writes, prints or speaks of and concerning any woman, falsely imputing to her a want of chastity, will be liable to a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for the county for up to six months, or both. It is also unlawful to falsely and maliciously accuse another person of committing a felony or other indictable offense involving moral turpitude, through oral communication, writing or printing.
- ACC 13A-12-111. Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree. States that anyone who advances or profits from the prostitution of a child under the age of 16 is guilty of a Class B felony.
- CC 13A-12-112. Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree. States, among other things, that anyone who advances or profits from the prostitution of a minor under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-12-191. Dissemination or Public Display of Obscene Matter Containing Visual Depiction of Persons under 17 Years of Age Involved in Obscene Acts. Defines as an offense the dissemination or public display of obscene materials depicting a child under the age of 17 engaged in a sexual act, breast nudity, masturbation, sexual excitement, genital nudity or other sexual conduct. Such an offense is classified as a Class B felony.
- ACC 13A-12-192. Possession and Possession with Intent to Disseminate Obscene Matter Containing Visual Depiction of Persons under 17 Years of Age Involved in Obscene Acts. This section deals with the dissemination or possession of child pornography with intent to disseminate. Possession of three or more copies of the same visual depiction is considered prima facie evidence of possession with intent to disseminate. Possession with intent to disseminate is classified as a Class B felony whereas simple possession is a Class C felony.
- ACC 13A-12-196. Parents or guardians permitting children to engage in production of obscene matter guilty of Class A felony. Any parent or guardian who knowingly permits or allows their child, ward, or dependent under 17 years old to engage in the production of obscene matter containing visual depiction of said child engaged in a sexual act, breast nudity, masturbation, sexual excitement, genital nudity or other sexual conduct is guilty of a Class A felony.
- ACC 13A-12-197. Production of Obscene Matter Containing Visual Depiction of Person under 17 Years of Age Involved in Obscene Acts. This section states that any person who knowingly produces any obscene material that contains a visual depiction of a child under 17 years of age is guilty of a Class A felony. Each depiction is classed as a separate offense and is sentenced accordingly.
- ACC 13A-12-198. Forfeiture of Equipment, Materials, Vehicles, etc., Used in Production, Transportation, Dissemination, etc., of Obscene Matter. States that any article, equipment, machine, materials, matter, vehicle or other thing whatsoever used in the production or dissemination of the above mentioned obscene material may be forfeited.
- ACC 13A-12-200.5. Material Harmful to Minors. States, among other things, that it is an offense for any person to distribute to a minor material that is harmful to them, or possess such material with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute. This misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a term of imprisonment of up to one year. It is also an offence under this section to openly and knowingly display for sale material harmful to minors in a place frequented by minors or a place where minors may be invited as part of the general public. It is an offence display such material in a place that employs minors. Harmful material is defined as material containing nudity or sexual conduct. With some listed exceptions, a violation is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for no more than one year. A person who hires or employs a person in violation of this subsection is guilty of a Class C felony, and is liable to a fine of $10,000 to $50,000.