Blocked Websites at Scarsdale High School

Max Yang

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Have you ever tried to play a computer game during a free only to find out that the website was blocked? Don’t worry, it’s not just you. While browsing the internet at Scarsdale High School, students often run into restricted websites. A new internet filter was installed over the summer that blocks websites deemed inappropriate; however, some students are frustrated that harmless websites such as Redbubble or even Snapchat texting are blocked. “They’re our frees, let us decide what to do with them,” said Abby Glaser ’18.

SHS uses a filtering system which automatically restricts the use of certain websites. “We have an internet filtering service that does it for us, and websites are flagged or tagged … that fall under certain categories like inappropriate or adult content pornography, gaming, gambling, or hacking.” said Ms. Giroux in the instructional technology department.  Most websites that are naturally blocked by the filter need to, and should be restricted. However, the technology department also attempts to filter out websites relating to alcohol and other subjects that could be potentially disruptive in a school setting. “There’s a federal law that requires us to filter out at least pornography,” said SHS Principal Kenneth Bonamo.

While the restriction of websites related to pornography and illegal substances is understandable, some students believe blocking websites similar to Line and Redbubble, are not necessary to create a productive working environment. However, “The first rationale is that we [block websites] with educational priorities in mind,” remarked Bonamo. The school wants students to have access to as many websites as possible, but there needs to be restrictions to create a positive school environment.   Even though some students don’t believe these filters should be in place it is essential that the quality of education be the first priority. “We only have a limited bandwidth here, so it really has to be that our lessons and what we need to do to teach our students have to take precedence over the needs of students,” said SHS history teacher Patrick Healy.

While students have the right to be frustrated and voice their opinions, Scarsdale High School already allows more websites than many other schools. SHS has it’s own filtering system which gives us local control over which websites are blocked, while other schools use a pre-programmed filter for multiple schools which prevents it from being customizable. “Some districts used a consortium approach where it’s a filter used by many districts and they don’t tailor it for their own districts,” stated Bonamo. Teachers and students can request specific websites to be unblocked if the website is appropriate and will contribute to students’ learning. So for all those out there mourning the blockage of Miniclip, we feel you.

 

Blocked Websites/Applications:

  • Snapchat
  • Buzzfeed
  • imagur
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Line
  • Miniclip

 

by Max Yang