The Black & White

New school web filters are too restrictive

By Emma Sorkin

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When you search “web filters in schools” online, one of the first things that comes up is a link to the National Conference of State Legislators which states that schools have implemented Internet monitoring policies to “prevent minors from gaining access to sexually explicit, obscene or harmful materials.”

Photo by Emma Sorkin

Photo by Emma Sorkin

As we are all painfully aware, MCPS has adopted this philosophy in a valiant effort to block students’ horrific tendencies to watch graphic videos and haphazardly add numerous items of clothing into their online carts.

While the restrictions are made to keep students on task and only on “school appropriate websites” during class, the web filters have gone too far.

As I was working on an English project at home, I came across an informative video that I figured would’ve been perfect to share with the class. However, when I went to view the video in school, the cold-blooded filters clearly had other plans. I was bombarded by a giant red stop sign glaring down at me from its spot of authority on the Promethean board, humiliating me and leaving me virtually helpless. I was unable to finish my presentation all because a filter that was supposedly designed to keep students on task literally blocked me from completing mine.

We’ve all had those classes that just beg us to scroll through Buzzfeed and find out who we will marry based on our salad preferences, but classrooms are not the place for those quizzes. That being said, disciplinary actions for distracted students should be left up to each teacher. In blocking many websites for the “common good,” MCPS has unintentionally blocked helpful educational resources, hindering students’ attempts and desire to learn.

Perhaps the most trivial part of this whole blockade is the reality that students can easily bypass the filters. From using their phones on a non-MCPS regulated phone or email account to downloading the VPN apps to bypass the WiFi, if students are going to be off-task or distracting during class, a web restriction is not going to stop them.

While some restrictions are necessary, they’ve currently gone too far. If MCPS really wants to protect its students, they should give us some credit.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “New school web filters are too restrictive”

  1. spiceywaterr on December 6th, 2017 12:02 pm

    Buzzfeed sucks and so do school web filters. Even on the school computers you can bypass them quite easily. (not saying how). But also many websites that could normally be used for educational purposes are blocked, yet places like “CoolMathGames” arent.

    Get yo sh!t together, schools

  2. Kaelob Schroeder on December 7th, 2017 12:31 pm

    CoolMathGames Was blocked 2 months ago.

  3. david on January 22nd, 2018 9:02 am

    everything is blocked at my school

  4. TheHaker on April 17th, 2018 12:22 pm

    At our school everything is blocked, you have to be in the presence of a teacher to access anything other than the standard learning programs. And even some of the pages of the learning programs are blocked by our schools over protective filters. Good thing I know the password to the admin network!

  5. Dominic on October 17th, 2018 9:49 am

    I think the schools are also taking to far and really doing some stupid thing to try and get “the best in kids” by blocking all the website kids could get really good research on. I could barley do a protect on the computer because the school is so web scared.

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