Why block what could be helpful to our education

Some  websites that are blocked at DCSD schools.  Photoco:Ashley Larrison

Some websites that are blocked at DCSD schools.
Photoco:Ashley Larrison

  Douglas County has blocked some websites which could be helpful to our education in art classes and in other classes as well. One website, for example, is Pinterest. Why block it if it could help come up with ideas for projects for art classes, fashion classes, etc?

  “After awhile it gets old. I go to do research for a project and a website that is helpful is blocked at school,” said senior Aubreanna Chelin. “ I think it’s ridiculous that they block stuff because it has something on there that may or may not be appropriate for school.”

  “I think the liabilities that come with a school district internet access are huge to it. Thus, we might not agree to censorship or blocking sites but at times its necessary because of what might come out of that,” said Jerry Goings, HR principal. “The district is liable for that, because they have allowed that to happen.”

  We all get that pop up screen saying access has been denied due to content, but what’s wrong with pinterest. I get why facebook is blocked, it can distract us from our learning, we’ll be too involved on facebook that we won’t pay attention in class. Same goes for twitter, but twitter isn’t blocked.

  Teachers and administration has what is called a level two access. They have a access code they can use to gain access to youtube, facebook, pinterest, etc. that will help with their curriculum for the day.

  “I am very disappointed that it is blocked, pinterest itself already has a filter on there for what they may be questionable, you can’t view it,” said Kristen Denbow, HR art teacher. “I feel like they’re taking away what people may use as an educational tool.It is a very valuable visual resource, and there is nothing posted on pinterest that these kids cant see any where else.”

  As to why they block some of these websites is because “Compliance with CIPA (Childrens Internet Protection Act) rules is one major reason why filtering is necessary at the district level,” said Neal Metzler, Douglas Counties IT Support Center manager. “After the initial cost of the web filtering contract with the vendor selected during an RFP purchasing process last year (2012), there is no additional fee incurred by adding or blocking additional websites on the filter.”

  So what about pinterest? “An assessment performed last year identified Pinterest as the top (by far) bandwidth consuming website visited on our network. For any filtering decision, especially a major social media website such as Pinterest, we take into account the education value of the site, weighing it against potential pitfalls of wide open access to the site.”

  It has its advantages and it has its disadvantages. Some of these websites are helpful to our education, but with them being blocked it makes it more difficult to learn. It makes it harder for some teachers to teach, because they have to completely change their curriculum, and teaching style.

Ashley Larrison, Editor in Chief

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