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    Hi.  Thanks to everyone that helped me out.  District still wants
CyberPatrol or Surfwatch, but at least they are more informed now.

    Here is a summary of the responses that I received, the full messages
follow the summary if you want more information.

    CyberPatrol - 6 negative, 1 positive, and 3 find it difficult but
    Bess - 7 positive.  No negative responses.
    Surfwatch - 4 negative, 2 positive.
    Screendoor - 1 positive.
    SonicWall - 1 positive.
    Webmanager - 1 positive.
    Webserve - 1 negative.
    I Gear - 1 negative.
    One school has a firewall, and a nice ad for Cybersnoop came.

    Do you like it? It gave us lots of trouble. We it messed up it blocked
everything including e-mail.  Three times in a year we had to reinstall o
150 machines.    Do you know of a better filter? All filters have their
problems or price.  We now have Screendoor.  Internet connections go to the
hardware to be filtered.  The only problem we have encountered is that in
order to allow free e-mail you have to allow chat and Usenet.

    We used Cyberpatrol for 2 years when we had a stand-alone Internet
connection. It was satisfactory but like most filters it only recognized
objectionable words not the actual content of the webpage. We had a problem
when a student was looking for the Simpsons tv show page and ended up with
the (anti) OJ Simpson webpage. There was a page that was listed as a picture
of Nicole. It was a nude photo but was permitted because the word "nude"
never appeared on the page. Then there was the time we looked up Teddy Bears
for our K classes and discovered that this is a term for a certain type of
gay male. We were allowed access to these sites because they also did not
use any objectionable words.
    Cyberpatrol responded to our concerns but basically said that the system
only relied on words. Another problem was that Cyberpatrol required regular
(biweekly I think) updates. When I let this go for a few months I had
problems and had to get a whole new system downloaded. The person I dealt
with in customer support was very patient but it did take an hour out of my
busy day. A Cyberpatrol denial of access could also be overridden by the
Librarian easily.
    Our district now is on a network and we use I Gear. This system is more
problematic. Although we initially had full access to the Starr report,
their are many vital sites that we are denied access to. If we want to
override we must contact the network administrator ( a busy lady) and wait
for her to override it at her convenience. This is problematic when you have
a child at hand waiting for use of a site. I understand that I Gear also
uses words and yet not all bomb making sites were filtered out. One can get
around it by using a search engine  that uses frames like AskJeeves. If a
mere librarian has found this out I am sure the more savvy high school and
junior high school kids have known about it all along.
    All in all I feel somewhat more secure with a filter even though I
vigorously patrol the computer area once I have allowed a child to go on the

    We used a trial of CyberPatrol, but it stopped too many things, like The
Scarlet Letter.  Now we are using Surfwatch.  It is much better.  Not nearly
as many things get zapped.  I'm not in charge, so I don't really know how it
works, but I know the administrator can monitor which computer tried to get
into what.  The other day he came to me to tell me that someone had tried to
get into a chat room for horny females at such and such a time.  Because I
make the kids sign in, we could tell who had done it.  If we have to have a
filter, and I think we probably do to protect ourselves at least a little,
then Surfwatch is better than Cyber Patrol.

    At Centralia High School in Centralia, Illinois, we use the SonicWall
filter as our internet filter.  We have only had an internet connection
for our students since January of this year and decided to use a filter
at least until we see what kind of use our system receives.  The filter
gives me a list of blocked sites and the computer IP number where the
student was.  Our students have to "log in" to the library computers
thereby allowing me to track which students may be creating a problem.  So
far, we are generally pleased with the filter.

    We Use it and We love it! It works well with Windows 95 and 98 and we
have better control of the sites kids go to.

    You may want ot check out Web Manager from Winnebago. You do not have to
use Winnebago. It is content based - as well as allows you to customize all
access for groups of users, time of day, etc.
It is the one that I am considering.

    We have Cyber Patrol on our computer, but I disconnected it.  It
wouldn't let me get into the sites I wanted - all of them were very safe
sites.  Plus, I don't think it did a very good job filtering all of the
bad sites.

    We are still using it after a period without.  It still blocks too much
(the new Hampshire Public TV Education Web Site?)  I haven't used other
filters.  I was frankly nervous when it was off.

    We use Cyber Patrol in our district.  It works OK, but the kids still
can access sites if they know what they are doing.  It has cut down on
problems tremendously.  The program conflicts with a number of CD-ROMs that
we use on the server.  It is very difficult for that reason.

    We have Surfwatch on our LAN. I don't care for it. When our 7th graders
try to do a search for Holocaust information, many of the sites are blocked.
When some of our precocious 6th, yes 6th graders in a remedial class typed
t*ts and a*s, they got to some sites..... hence, the reason I don't like it!

    Our school district Business Administrator chose Websense as our filter.
There was no opportunity for staff input.  I have shared with him and  other
administrators problems students and staff have had accessing curricular
related materials at the High School level.    Items block ed have included
the following topics : Salem Witch Trial,  Thoreau site on Walden, National
Wildlife Federation and Endangered Species sites, Drug and Alcohol sites.
I've been campaigning for staff access to passwords in order to locate
appropriate information for students.
    I've even looked at  a book on filters searching for possible alternate
suggestions - Schneider, Karen G.  A practical Guide to Internet Filters -
Neal-Schuman 1997.

    My district installed Surfwatch and I hate it- it blocks me out of
ridiculous things-(you can't look up "The Owl and the Pussycat" ), but
you can get around it to more serious stuff without  much  effort- its
a pointless inconvenience

We do not use a filter in Gwinnett County.  We do have a software that
blocks out objectionable (that are found) sites and we do have a firewall.I
am glad we do not have a filter package; I think with one you assume all the
responsibility instead of putting it on the students.  Our students sign an

    We use a filter in our district. We use Bess (not sure of spelling). We
haven't had Internet access all that long, so I can't really say whether I
like it or not. The HS librarian who has been using it longer loves it.

    we use surfwatch it has been impossible to update seems to lose the list
of customized sites we added to filter also it is very sporadic in whether
an offensive site is filtered good luck try to find one that you can live
with and put it on the server so that you don't hav e  to deal with it on
each machine as another application that might mess up the machines

    Our school, through our Intemediate School District uses Bess.  We
access the Internet through their server and they have installed Bess as a
filter.  It seems to work very well.  They are quite responsive to
sites indivual users want blocked, or opened and you can override sites if
you need to.

    Our system uses Surf Watch.  It is put on our computer before they are
delivered to the school.  If we receive a computer through donation, or
otherwise, we much send it to the main office for programs such as that to
be put on. It is updated daily and we have little to do with it. I am in an
elementary situation and have little fear.  I know that our high schools
feel better knowing that it is there.  We have had it bypassed and it was
discovered very early.  The company changed the settings and as far as I
know there have been on other problems.

Our Dept of Education issues cyber patrol to primary schools (i'm not sure
about high schools) in NSW Australia. It is up to schools whether they
choose to use it - access to the 'net is thrrough the Department site, and
apparently it has some form of filtering mechanism itself. Personally I
dislike cyberpatrol - have found it blocks access to great sites such as
"Ask jeeves for kids" and trying to give each class a free email account
with hotmail was a huge headache - yahoo seemed to be more acceptable. To
bookmark some sites for lessons, I've had to first disable cyberpatrol
.(these are sites I've looked at, previewed and have no idea why they've
been rejected). Jamie McKenzie has an interesting article on Internet
filters on his www.fno.org site.
http://emifyes.iserver.net/fromnow/fnomar96.html I hope this address gets
you there! Also have a look at this article, which describes a system of
giving students a "cyberpilots license" - where they progress through
different levels of internet access and skills. A teacher librarian in one
of my courses described the way a similar system has been used successfully
with a student caught trying to vandalise a library computer.

    Our Internet is set up at the district level.  They use
BESS.  It's been ok.  Sometimes it's frustrating because
they will block off good sites because they are on a server
that contains sites that are against district policy.  But
it does let you request reviews of sites, and they are
constantly working on making it more discriminating.

    Here at this high school we use Surf Watch and have done so for three or
four years.  It does block unwanted sites...it also blocks sites you might
want, such as a search for "breast cancer" will be blocked because of the
use of the word breast.  Our students also seem to be able to easily get
around it.  Next year I hope we will be going with a system that allows the
moderator to pull up and screen on the main computer at any point...it is a
software program and hopefully that will give us a little more control.

    In Henrico County (Suburban Richmond, VA), we use Bess.  I am not a fan
of filters to begin with, but it seems to work well enough.

    We use BESS, which works at the server level, in our district.
Philosophically, I don't believe in filters, but, realistically, it seems to
work fairly well. I have not seen too many instances where the filter kept
students out of legitimate sites that they wanted to get to. The only real
problem is that it sometimes slows the connection down.

    We are using SurfWatch at the Baker High School / Middle School Library
(1 library for grades 7-12 - which share the same building & a few
teachers.)  Actually, the whole building is using SurfWatch.  Our decision
to use a filter was made, in part, by the realization that we cannot watch
all the computers all the time - especially those in the labs.  I try to
keep an eye on what students are doing at the station in the library, but
since it's just me in the library, I can't always be on top of every search.
I haven't had problems with students trying to disable SW, but then they
know, if they try - they're done FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR on the
library computers. For the most part, students have not been kept out of
legitimate research due to SW.  We had a problem early in the year when some
students were doing reports on salamanders and other cold-blooded
amphibians.  The violence filter picked up on the terms "cold-blooded".

    We use CyberPatrol at our k-8 school.  It blocks some things you want
and lets through some things you don't.  Our computer person will, if
notified of a problem, make a site available--or unavailable.
  Although I don't like the idea of someone else making my "selection"
of Internet sites for me, it would be impossible for me to do so.  We
have an AUP at our school, and no student is permitted to use the
Internet without teacher supervision, but we still get students trying
to put one over.

Bess from N2H2 out of Seattle, WA.  Their website is N2H2.com and we really
like it.

    I tried to get into something x rated to see about our filter was.  That
was interesting.  The message across the screen said Novel BorderManager and
CyberPatrol.  It isn't perfect, but does work well.  Some sites students
want to get in to for research was closed.  I like our fliter.  We still
monitor our computers, too.

Linda Schloegel, Librarian
Carlton Oaks School, Santee, CA

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