To Block or Not to Block… Internet Filtering Process at Prairie

By federal law, all public schools are required to filter Internet content, the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  We have a filter in place to meet these requirements.  But, internet content filtering is a tricky business.  It’s hard to get the filtering level right for all users.  We are continually adjusting the level of filtering to keep up with changes in the web’s content and to keep in touch with how we are using these resources educationally.  So, the target is always moving.  Here are some common questions the technology department gets regarding filtering.

What do I do if I find a website that is currently blocked, but I think should be unblocked?

There are several options here.  Because we filter different ages of students and staff all differently, it’s important to let us know which group is being blocked.  It’s not unusual for a site to be blocked for students and not for staff users.  We also filter by building level, so K-4 students are filtered differently than 10-12 students.  So, again, the first thing we’ll need to know what group is being blocked: staff, K-4 students, 5-6 students, etc…  Once this is known, please send me, Craig Barnum, an email with the site address (URL), the group it needs to have access, and a brief rationale on why access to this site fits with Prairie’s educational mission.  I will review the site, and I may have follow up questions for you.  In most cases, I will open access based upon this input.  Please give me about 24 hours to work through this process, however.

On staff block pages, not student users, there is a button for an “exception request.”  I would ask that Staff not use this feature unless I specifically request it.  When this form is completed, it sends an email to me, not to anyone at iBoss.  It alone does not give me enough information to make a determination on if we need to block or unblock the site.  So, I need staff to email me directly.  Let me know the web address and a brief rationale of how unblocking the site will further our educational mission.   Remember, all staff have rights to completely by pass the filter.

What do I do if I find a website that I think should be blocked?

Public schools are compelled to block certain content by law, CIPA.  If you find a site that you deem pornographic, conveys dangerous information (i.e. how to build a weapon), or meets any of the other CIPA criteria, please email the web address.  If I concur with your assessment, I will block the site immediately.  However, there will be sites that we will want to block that do not fall under the CIPA umbrella.  For example, CIPA does not force us to block sites like Facebook.  But, if you find a site that you believe detracts from our educational purpose, please send me a brief rationale on why the site should be blocked and the web address.  I will take these requests to the Administrative Cabinet.  This team meets on most Monday afternoons.  So, it may take a few days for me to process these requests.

This entry was posted in For Teachers. Bookmark the permalink.