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Students access inappropriate content on school computers

By Keith McCord | Posted - Mar. 30, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.

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PARK CITY — Elementary school students looking at pornography websites while they are in class? It happened in Park City, and the school district is trying to figure out how.

The Park City School District does what so many businesses do, placing filters on their computers to block inappropriate websites from viewing. But two weeks ago, some students at McPolin Elementary School were able to get around it.

Each day, students at the school have access during certain times to use these laptops for their various assignments. A group of students accessed the inappropriate websites by typing search words in Spanish.

"I don't think anything surprises us anymore," said Tom VanGorder, director of student services at the Park City School District. "I think with technology these days being so prevalent in society from the early stages of education and home life, I just think it's a battle we'll have to continue to address."

Websites contain nudity were accessed. The school principal says eight or nine students were involved in some way and have been disciplined. The school has also talked to their parents.

The district's IT department has fixed the problem for now. Tuesday, a letter was mailed home to the parents updating them on the investigation — the district hopes to have it wrapped up by Friday.

"In some ways I understand that the media and technology is moving so fast we're not really sure how to keep up with it," said Alison Strauss, a parent of a student at the school.

"You can't filter everything, and we realize that. Unfortunately, this event happened," VanGorder said. "We have to step back and look at certain policies, procedures that were utilized, and then say, ‘What can we do better?'"

The school and the district will hold a meeting at McPolin Elementary School on April 4 6:00 p.m. to explain to parents what the investigation came up with and what will happen in the future. All interested parents are invited.


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Keith McCord


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