Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Jed Boal ReportingDo you think your children can visit bomb making or other possibly dangerous web sites at school? Probably not, but there's no guarantee.
Nearly all school districts have internet filters. Many monitor internet activity too. But acceptable use of the internet at school, or work, comes down to trust. All students surf the internet in school. It's a critical tool, like pens and textbooks.
Jason Olsen, Salt Lake City School District: “Every school in our district has a computer lab.”
Salt Lake City has a typical policy. Teachers monitor students on-line. Most of the work is legitimate and trouble is NOT simply a careless keystroke away, but...
Jason Olsen, Salt Lake City School District: "You can't stand over the shoulder of every student and watch where they're going."
So the students and their parents must sign an acceptable use policy. It spells out what the students can and cannot do online. In addition, the district knows where the students go.
Jason Olsen, Salt Lake City School District: "We know where they are, which computer they're using, the time of day, and then it also logs the websites they go to."
And a filter limits where students go.
Jason Olsen, Salt Lake City School District: "It will look for weapons, it will look for explosives, it will look for sexuality, look for keywords and block those."
It works most of the time. But no filter is foolproof.
Devin Bunker, KSL System Administrator: “It’s a lot like spam. You’re never going to filter out everything.”
KSL System Administrator Devin Bunker says savvy students often get where they want to go. Filters are a lot like locks.
Devin Bunker, KSL System Administrator: "You're not going to keep out a determined person, but you are going to keep a person from curiosity or things they may not even want to get in to."
Evanston High uses a filter. The superintendent thinks it works well, but it's not perfect.
Dennis Wilson, Evanston School District: "We want the students to use the internet as a tool. We also have to put limits on what can we allow in the school."
It's a tough balance to manage, but in this instance the school district spotted the activity before it was too late.