Initiative for better school Internet filtering moves to Senate floor

Posted - Mar. 5, 2015 at 4:36 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — With an increasing use of mobile devices in Utah schools, lawmakers are calling for better Internet filtering to protect students while on and off campus.

HB213, which was unanimously upheld by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, would require local school community councils to have the infrastructure in place to provide adequate filtering of all school devices no matter where they're used.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, also calls on educators to talk to parents about how they can help their students use the Internet safely and develop "digital citizenship."

Carolyn White, a member of the Beaver County Board of Education, said the district has already implemented the infrastructure to route all Internet access on school devices through the district's filtering system. But she said the bill limits the ability for other districts to handle the task on their own.

"Not all of us have community councils that would maybe have that expertise or maybe want that burden added on their plate," White said.

But Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, who stood in for Stratton, said the bill wouldn't be an unreasonable ask for educators.

"This doesn't seem to be an onerous mandate to require that children are protected," Stephenson said.

The bill has already been approved by the House and now moves to the Senate floor.

— Morgan Jacobsen


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