Packer’s New Filter Policy
For many students, the internet filters on their laptops are a complete mystery. A search or website is blocked, and the reasoning and technology behind it is generally unknown. Before winter break, there was a shift in the community’s internet access, which has been equally as misunderstood as the original filter, yet more jarring to the average student.
Director of technology Jim Anderson has attempted to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the recent changes.
“It’s not a change in policy. It’s a change in technology, and when we change the web filter solutions that we use in the school, we change manufacturers basically, and different manufacturers use different algorithms and different processes for categorizing websites,” said Mr. Anderson. “One site that might be categorized as okay or appropriate in one system might get flagged for some reason in another system.”
Mr. Anderson recommends students report the sites that they want unblocked for the tech center reviews. He also added that Packer doesn’t police specific searches. Instead, they block certain sites that students try and go to. The filters have different policies depending on who is using it. It has to know who you are and if it doesn’t know who you are for some reason, like if it’s not recognizing your login, then you get the most restricted policies because you might be a very young student.
“I am really confused by the filter and I don’t really know what it does. I think I’m mature enough to filter my own search,” said Dakota Champagne (19’).
There have also been many teachers who have expressed concern about privacy and the extent to which the tech center policies.
“[The filter has] affected adults in the community as well. Many students have a hotspot blocker, allowing them to go to any websites while adults in the building must get approval,” said Health Teacher Ms. Patillo.
Mr. Anderson hoped to clarify the policies of the filter, by adding that any school that requires its students to use a laptop has to comply with CIPA, the Children’s Internet Protection Act. According to Mr. Anderson, Packer’s internet policy is no different than any other New York school. He says that he hopes to improve the understanding of the filter through laptop orientations in freshman year, and believes that many, if not all of the issues with the filter will be fixed within the coming months.