Blocked websites at Decatur High School

This+is+the+only+screen+that+students+see+when+they+try+to+access+a+blocked+website.+It+does+not+provide+an+exact+reason+the+site+is+blocked.

Yajeel Brown

This is the only screen that students see when they try to access a blocked website. It does not provide an exact reason the site is blocked.

Most students have experienced being blocked from a website that they were trying to access from the school’s network. But what makes a website a candidate to be blocked, and how does a website get unblocked?

“We originally didn’t have a problem with [having to block websites], until some kids started going on bad websites,” media center clerk Susan Riley said.

Spamfighter.com reports that 40% of parents fear that their children visit bad websites.  The problem with having no filter for the school system’s computers is that the elementary school students have just as much access to inappropriate websites as the high school students. The state of Georgia requires public schools to adopt and enforce reasonable policies of Internet safety that will protect children from access to harmful material.

“In my opinion, there should be no filter for DHS,” senior Jacob McAdoo said. “As high school students, we are mature enough to handle it.”

Sites like YouTube and Tumblr have made both teachers and students question the filter. “When I’m working on a project and need some inspiration, I would use Tumblr for ideas. As for YouTube, there have been plenty of times that a teacher has needed the site, so the filter can really put a damper on things,” McAdoo said.

“As we see that some sites [that the filter has blocked] are school appropriate, we can go in and unblock them,” Riley said. “We also have just purchased a new system called My Big Campus in which teachers can take a Youtube video and the system will convert the video for classroom usage. It’s progress, but we are doing the best we can.”