Monitoring students’ online activity

Recent reports from the state auditor’s office found a significant amount of students accessing explicit material on school computers. News 25’s Kendra Turley caught up with officials in the Jackson County School District to see how they monitor online activity on campus.
Classrooms across the country are steadily trading in pencils and paper notebooks for tablets and iPads. Jackson County School District Director of Information Technology David Besancon said, “We have a mixture of Apple devices, chrome books, Windows devices, iPads, the plethora, anything that can make the classroom more accessible to the student.”
But with more technology comes more of a risk for inappropriate online activity. “We use an eyeball filter which categorizes websites that students may go to and this is updated continuously through the company. We pay a yearly fee for that. We configure it so that they are not going to sites that we deem inappropriate,” said Besancon.
There are plenty of internet safety policies in place for when students are using technology on campus, but the state’s concern is the student’s online activity whenever they’re at home.
After an audit on school-issued computers, State Auditor Stacey Pickering says his office found pornography and other explicit material on computers that some public schools issued to middle and high school students. The auditor’s office reviewed 150 devices issued to students in nine of the 144 school districts participating in the one-to-one initiative.
Although Jackson County School District is not part of that specific group, officials say they will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure internet safety. Jackson County School District Superintendent Dr. Barry Amacker said, “We do have a lot of technology out there and obviously that comes with some risk involved, but we believe that the benefit far outweighs what minor risks might be out there with the protections that we have in place.”

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