Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

> Date:    Tue, 11 Dec 2007 11:13:51 -0500
> From:    Hilary Grant <GrantH@HURONVALLEY.K12.MI.US>
> Subject: TECH/GEN: Web filtering - How's it handled in your district?
> With CIPA laws, we are filtering our students' access to certain
> Internet sites.  Our district is curious how other districts handle that
> filtering.  If you have a moment, can you email the answer to the
> following questions?  Some of these questions may overlap so I
> appreciate the best answers you can give.  Thank you in advance!

It may be important to first get a clear understanding of what CIPA requires
and what it does NOT require.

From my PPT: In US, if schools receive federal funds, they must be in accord
with Childrenıs Internet Protection Act, which requires "a technology
protection measure Š that protects against access Š to visual depictions
that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors²
Note, CIPA does not say ³filter² and schools must only protect against
access to pornography
CIPA also requires an Internet safety plan

Internet safety plan requirements
Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web
The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms,
and other forms of direct electronic communications
Unauthorized access including "hacking" and other unlawful activities by
minors online
Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information
regarding minors
Measures designed to restrict minors' access to materials harmful to minors

> 1.  Do you have different levels of filtering in your district (i.e.
> student computers have more blocking than teacher/staff computers or
> different levels of students have access to different sites)?

Filters should not be considered the best level of protection for elementary
students. Walled garden approaches are better. More importantly, what is the
basis upon which the decision is being made.

> 2.  If not, can you verify that teachers and students have access to
> the same web sites?
> 3. If a site is blocked and a teacher wants to use it or wants the
> students to use, what is the process for getting that site unblocked?

See below.

> 4.  Who has the ability to unblock a web site in your district?

Should be a sufficient number in every school or at a district service
center to allow for rapid override.
> 5.  How long approximately does it take for a site to get unblocked in
> your district?

If a teacher works on a lesson at night and comes to school at a normal
time, checks the lesson at school and finds a site blocked, that teacher
should be able to have access to the site BY THE TIME THE FIRST BELL RINGS!

School safety staff - administrators, counselors, and school resource
officers must have the IMMNEDIATE ability to override to access any site -
to investigate for student well-being or school safety reasons.

> 6.  What type of filter do you use?

Check this carefully. Can you find the filtering company that has a close
corporate relationship with the American Family Association?

> 7.  Specifically, does your district block blogs, music sites, You
> Tube? 

CIPA does not require these sites to be blocked. Blogs may be educational or
not. Music sites and YouTube present major concerns because they are
bandwidth hogs. When teachers or students listening to Internet radio or
watch YouTude this can slow the entire system down for everyone else. The
school Internet should not be used for entertainment purposes. If the music
is needed for a class purpose, this is different, but it would be best to
download at a non-busy time and retain for use. Every US Government teacher
should have been accessing the Macaca video on YouTube the day it came out.
But generally YouTube is also not educational and access should be allowed
only for actual lesson plan activities.

More preview from my PPT:

Filter Administration
Questions to Ask
Who has decided which sites or categories are blocked?
What is the educational or technical basis of this decision?
How rapidly can the filter be overridden to support desired instructional
activities or address safety concerns?

Library media and instruction staff should have primary authority for
selection of filtering categories to be blocked based on substance or
subject matter
They are the districtıs most highly trained professionals on issues related
to the appropriateness of materials for students
Technology staff should address concerns related to bandwidth and security
Jointly address conflicts between educational substance and technical

Selected staff in every school must have authority and ability to quickly
override the filter to provide access for instructional purposes
Library media staff
Computer lab coordinators
Active computer-using teachers

All district safe school staff must have authority and ability to
immediately override the filter to investigate student material posted
online to assess safety concerns
This is critically important for student and school safety!!!

Temporary overrides are recorded, thus ensuring accountability
Establish override report process
Who requested override
Who accomplished override
What site(s)
For what education or safety purpose

(I will add in the narration here that if you have a teacher who is
requesting overrides for entertainment purposes or to sites that are
inappropriate, this process will reveal this.)

³Big pipe meets garden hose²
Video and audio files consume large amounts of bandwidth
This slows access for everyone else
Of significant concern when bandwidth used for entertainment
Do not consume bandwidth for entertainment
Whenever possible download large files after school and save on computer for
access during class
Advise technical services in advance if lesson activity will use significant

Are students trying or able to bypass the filter to access inappropriate
If the answer is ³yes,² this is primarily due to the lack of Š
Appropriate focus on educational use
Effective supervision and monitoring
This is a management problem, not a filter problem

This PPT is still under development. Feedback and thoughts appreciated.


Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)

Please note: All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
  You can prevent most e-mail filters from deleting LM_NET postings
  by adding LM_NET@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU to your e-mail address book.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
 3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
 * LM_NET Help & Information:
 * LM_NET Archive:
 * EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
 * LM_NET Supporters:
 * LM_NET Wiki:

LM_NET Mailing List Home