Increased Internet filtering coming to a public school near you

News Jun 30, 2016 by Lisa Rutledge Cambridge Times

WATERLOO REGION – After more than a year of debate, the region’s public school board will increase Internet content filtering levels next fall in a bid to prevent students from accessing inappropriate material via school Wi-Fi.

Waterloo Region District School Board approved the implementation of a graduated Internet filtering system that will put more strict content filters into place for students, with the highest filter levels reserved for elementary grade children.

The changes to the board-wide Internet settings, approved in a vote at a school board meeting on June 27, will also see upgrades in the way the filtering handles multi-languages.

The controversial issue grew out of concerns raised by Cambridge parent and local pastor Jacob Reaume, who warned the public school board that children were able to access pornographic images and videos using school Wi-Fi.

Reaume and his wife learned that many Cambridge public elementary schools offered Wi-Fi without requiring password logins and discovered they could use that Wi-Fi to access sex-related and hate materials online.

Advocates for tougher Internet surfing protocols for children say the battle for better online safety was a protracted one, but one worth fighting for.

“I think it’s going to be well worth it,” commented Cambridge trustee Cindy Watson. “In my mind, it’s going to make it safer for students.”

That sentiment was echoed by Reaume, who has served as a vocal Internet safety watchdog for students. The Cambridge father and his wife opted to pull their children from a local public school out of concern that too little was being done to prevent children from being exposed to graphic images – intentionally or accidentally – via school computers.

“I still have a lot of concerns, and many questions are yet to be answered,” he stated in his blog following the board’s vote. “But this is a huge victory!

“The trustees have sent the message to the staff: things need to change for the better, or rather, parents have sent the message to (the public school board), these are our kids so we’ll decide what they see online!”

Though the vote to add graduated Internet filtering passed June 27, the policy governing digital resources will have to be formally amended when the board meets again in September.

The call for changes for improved Internet safety will also mean additional training for teachers and occasional teachers on how to use the new safeguards.

A recent report to trustees revealed that the board’s current Internet security software vendors are capable of filtering for different grade levels, filtering out inappropriate content, providing support for multi-languages and providing staff training. These requirements can be accommodated within the board’s budget, according to the report.

Watson questioned why it took so long for change to happen if the board’s current vendors were able to accommodate Internet safety upgrades.

“This has been such a long process,” she said. “It was only through the (request for information report), that we found out we have those capabilities. Why aren’t we already doing it?”

Increased Internet filtering coming to a public school near you

Waterloo Region Disctrict School board agrees to limit students online access

News Jun 30, 2016 by Lisa Rutledge Cambridge Times

WATERLOO REGION – After more than a year of debate, the region’s public school board will increase Internet content filtering levels next fall in a bid to prevent students from accessing inappropriate material via school Wi-Fi.

Waterloo Region District School Board approved the implementation of a graduated Internet filtering system that will put more strict content filters into place for students, with the highest filter levels reserved for elementary grade children.

The changes to the board-wide Internet settings, approved in a vote at a school board meeting on June 27, will also see upgrades in the way the filtering handles multi-languages.

The controversial issue grew out of concerns raised by Cambridge parent and local pastor Jacob Reaume, who warned the public school board that children were able to access pornographic images and videos using school Wi-Fi.

Reaume and his wife learned that many Cambridge public elementary schools offered Wi-Fi without requiring password logins and discovered they could use that Wi-Fi to access sex-related and hate materials online.

Advocates for tougher Internet surfing protocols for children say the battle for better online safety was a protracted one, but one worth fighting for.

“I think it’s going to be well worth it,” commented Cambridge trustee Cindy Watson. “In my mind, it’s going to make it safer for students.”

That sentiment was echoed by Reaume, who has served as a vocal Internet safety watchdog for students. The Cambridge father and his wife opted to pull their children from a local public school out of concern that too little was being done to prevent children from being exposed to graphic images – intentionally or accidentally – via school computers.

“I still have a lot of concerns, and many questions are yet to be answered,” he stated in his blog following the board’s vote. “But this is a huge victory!

“The trustees have sent the message to the staff: things need to change for the better, or rather, parents have sent the message to (the public school board), these are our kids so we’ll decide what they see online!”

Though the vote to add graduated Internet filtering passed June 27, the policy governing digital resources will have to be formally amended when the board meets again in September.

The call for changes for improved Internet safety will also mean additional training for teachers and occasional teachers on how to use the new safeguards.

A recent report to trustees revealed that the board’s current Internet security software vendors are capable of filtering for different grade levels, filtering out inappropriate content, providing support for multi-languages and providing staff training. These requirements can be accommodated within the board’s budget, according to the report.

Watson questioned why it took so long for change to happen if the board’s current vendors were able to accommodate Internet safety upgrades.

“This has been such a long process,” she said. “It was only through the (request for information report), that we found out we have those capabilities. Why aren’t we already doing it?”

Increased Internet filtering coming to a public school near you

Waterloo Region Disctrict School board agrees to limit students online access

News Jun 30, 2016 by Lisa Rutledge Cambridge Times

WATERLOO REGION – After more than a year of debate, the region’s public school board will increase Internet content filtering levels next fall in a bid to prevent students from accessing inappropriate material via school Wi-Fi.

Waterloo Region District School Board approved the implementation of a graduated Internet filtering system that will put more strict content filters into place for students, with the highest filter levels reserved for elementary grade children.

The changes to the board-wide Internet settings, approved in a vote at a school board meeting on June 27, will also see upgrades in the way the filtering handles multi-languages.

The controversial issue grew out of concerns raised by Cambridge parent and local pastor Jacob Reaume, who warned the public school board that children were able to access pornographic images and videos using school Wi-Fi.

Reaume and his wife learned that many Cambridge public elementary schools offered Wi-Fi without requiring password logins and discovered they could use that Wi-Fi to access sex-related and hate materials online.

Advocates for tougher Internet surfing protocols for children say the battle for better online safety was a protracted one, but one worth fighting for.

“I think it’s going to be well worth it,” commented Cambridge trustee Cindy Watson. “In my mind, it’s going to make it safer for students.”

That sentiment was echoed by Reaume, who has served as a vocal Internet safety watchdog for students. The Cambridge father and his wife opted to pull their children from a local public school out of concern that too little was being done to prevent children from being exposed to graphic images – intentionally or accidentally – via school computers.

“I still have a lot of concerns, and many questions are yet to be answered,” he stated in his blog following the board’s vote. “But this is a huge victory!

“The trustees have sent the message to the staff: things need to change for the better, or rather, parents have sent the message to (the public school board), these are our kids so we’ll decide what they see online!”

Though the vote to add graduated Internet filtering passed June 27, the policy governing digital resources will have to be formally amended when the board meets again in September.

The call for changes for improved Internet safety will also mean additional training for teachers and occasional teachers on how to use the new safeguards.

A recent report to trustees revealed that the board’s current Internet security software vendors are capable of filtering for different grade levels, filtering out inappropriate content, providing support for multi-languages and providing staff training. These requirements can be accommodated within the board’s budget, according to the report.

Watson questioned why it took so long for change to happen if the board’s current vendors were able to accommodate Internet safety upgrades.

“This has been such a long process,” she said. “It was only through the (request for information report), that we found out we have those capabilities. Why aren’t we already doing it?”