Harvard-Westlake allows for and provides students with a wide range of information technology for educational purposes, including but not limited to the network, lab computers, peripheral devices, and printers. The use of these, any other technologies, and personal electronic devices, including cellular data, is a privilege, not a right, and students are responsible for using them legally, appropriately, responsibly, and kindly (LARK). The school sets terms and conditions upon technology use, and students should have no expectation of privacy or anonymity while using equipment or software provided or established by the school.

Use of information technology is governed by the same honor code that applies to all other aspects of life within the Harvard‑Westlake community. Honesty, integrity, respect for others’ privacy, and compliance with the behavioral expectations set forth in this handbook are expected at all times.


  • Remember that there is no privacy online. Do not send anything that you would not be happy to see posted in the hallway.
  • Things posted online stay there in archives—at Harvard‑Westlake and in the outside world—even after you think they have been deleted. Do not post anything that you would not want future college administrators or employers to see.
  • Harvard‑Westlake cannot protect students from all inappropriate or illegal materials. If you are sent anything inappropriate, offensive, or illegal, it is your responsibility to report it to a teacher or dean.
  • When using sites that may be viewed by people outside the Harvard‑Westlake community, such as Facebook, avoid communicating your full name, age, phone number, or other personal information and do not provide such information about other people. A non‑Harvard‑Westlake email address is recommended for all non‑school use.
  • Talk to your parents or guardians before agreeing to meet in person with someone you met online.


The following rules apply to all students at all times. In the classroom, personal computing and other electronic devices may be used as permitted by the instructor.

Respect and Protect the Privacy of Others

  • Keep your passwords private. Maintain and safeguard password-protected access to both personal and confidential Harvard-Westlake files and folders and all electronic resources provided by the school.
  • Always obtain permission from those being photographed or recorded before taking their photographs, before recording them, or before posting or transmitting their pictures or recordings.
  • Leave other people’s files and personal electronic devices alone. Removing, examining, copying, altering, or forging the files of another is no different from stealing, reading a personal letter, or destroying someone’s personal property. Likewise, using another’s phone, computer, or device without permission is unacceptable.
  • Use your real identity when using any Harvard‑Westlake online resource. Never use another person’s account or password.

Respect and Protect the Integrity, Availability, and Security of all Electronic Resources

  • Be respectful of electronic equipment; take care to ensure that it is not damaged, stolen, or misused.
  • Support computer and network security by not interfering with the operation of any computer or network or bypassing restrictions regarding technology use.
  • Use bandwidth wisely. Excessive use hurts everyone by slowing down the network. The use of bandwidth for non‑academic purposes is discouraged.

Respect and Protect the Intellectual Property of Others

  • Ensure that ownership rights and license agreements are acquired and updated for all of your software and digital media.
  • Obtain the owner’s permission before transmitting copyright‑ protected materials. Any material protected by trade secret or any other proprietary information should not be posted or transmitted. When in doubt, assume that all digital material is copyrighted.
  • Obtain permission from the director of communications before copying or reposting material from the Harvard‑Westlake intranet or from the school’s official website (www.hw.com).
  • Obtain permission from the director of communications before creating a link to the Harvard‑Westlake intranet or to the school’s official website (www.hw.com) from an external site.
  • Obtain permission from the author before copying or reposting messages or emails.
  • If you intend to create an online presence for a school‑related organization, you must obtain permission from the director of communications before you publish.
  • Obtain permission from the director of communications before using the school’s logo, mascot, or photographs in any publication, electronic or otherwise.

Respect and Protect the Practices of the Community

  • Each student is responsible for appropriate online behavior, both on and off campus, any time the student represents him/herself as a member of the Harvard‑Westlake community, either as an individual or as a member of a school club or organization.
  • Follow the Harvard‑Westlake honor code at all times.
  • Appropriate language, manners, and ethics are required. Ask yourself, “Will my actions reflect well on me?” and “Will my actions reflect well on the Harvard-Westlake community?”
  • Communicate only in ways that are kind and respectful. Inappropriate, unkind, offensive online behavior is not acceptable and may lead to disciplinary action.
  • The posting or transmitting of any inappropriate or offensive words, images, or videos is prohibited.
  • The posting or transmitting of false, harmful, or defamatory information is prohibited.
  • All‑school, all‑upper‑school, all‑middle‑school, or all‑grade‑ level email can only be sent with permission of the appropriate division head.
  • Engaging in commercial activities while using Harvard‑Westlake’s technology is not permitted. Gambling, political lobbying, and the sending of advertisements, spam, chain letters, or other mass mailings are also prohibited. Requests for potential exceptions to this rule should be proposed in advance for consideration by the school’s administration.

Harvard‑Westlake's Rights and Responsibilities

  • Harvard‑Westlake makes no guarantee of any kind to provide information technology. The school is not responsible for damages suffered by users, including loss of data, delays, or other problems resulting from use of its technology. Use of any information obtained via such technology is at the user’s risk; its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
  • Harvard‑Westlake reserves the right to access school email and student accounts for any reason at any time.
  • Harvard‑Westlake may delete anything at any time from a school forum or website and may restrict students’ use of school technology.
  • Any information contained on any Harvard‑Westlake  computer’s hard drive or information storage solutions that  were purchased by Harvard‑Westlake are considered property of Harvard‑Westlake.

Consequences for Violations

Any inappropriate use of technology or behavior that does not follow the above rules may result in disciplinary action. Students may lose their access to the school’s information resources as well as be subject to standard disciplinary procedures. Additionally, students may be billed if hardware and/or software needs to be repaired, restored, or replaced.

Reporting Computing Abuse and Irresponsible Behavior

Abuse and/or questionable behavior should be reported to a teacher or dean. Reports can be made electronically by sending an email to techabuse@hw.com. Messages sent to this email address are forwarded by the Information Technology department to the heads of school.