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The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

New VUSD web filter removed after students, teachers complain

This is the screen many students were confronted with when trying to access sites that Securly.com deemed inappropriate.
This is the screen many students were confronted with when trying to access sites that Securly.com deemed inappropriate.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26 the new VUSD web filter, Securly, was slackened, but not soon enough; the change came after months of complaints from students and teachers. 

Before the district’s technology department lifted Securly’s strict hold had on unapproved sites, many students, including senior Annabelle Shilley, were caught between a rock and a hard place as they were not able to use their phones or Chromebooks when studying or trying to conduct research.

“I needed to find information for my poet for English class and almost all of the websites, including the poet’s official website, were blocked,” Shilley said. “The blocking made it difficult to do any kind of research for school.”

These necessary websites and videos were not blocked because of their content, but rather, because they were “uncategorized,” meaning not manually stated to be unblocked by the district. This did not sit well with students and staff.  Thankfully, this unrest was not ignored by the district.

“We have come to notice that High and Middle schools have a higher use of sites that are considered ‘Uncategorized,’” Executive Director of Technology Thomas Kranzler said in an email to all VUSD staff. “This has led to some classes having some arrested moments in instruction and a higher level of frustration.”

Because of these repeated offenses, the district and Kranzler decided it was time to recall these changes. Rather than having every website require approval before access, they conceded to allow these “uncategorized” sites as long as they did not contain inappropriate content such as references to drugs or pornography.

This, understandably, has been accepted graciously by students and staff. English teacher Karin Childress struggled when trying to teach students because of a backorder on the workbooks. The blocking system had affected her ability to provide stories online to her students, so she felt relieved when Securly was lifted, even if it brought some problems with it.

“There is still some distraction with Freshman, I would say, but I can always use DyKnow to monitor them,” Childress said. DyKnow is a screen monitoring system that allows teachers to track student’s activities while in class.

Overall, Securly’s initial implementation caused complications for Buena students and staff, but they all have been able to pull through until it all worked out. Now, Buena High School will enter a new era of technology and teaching without the hindrance of unnecessary blocking and flagging, all while keeping its students safe from harm.

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About the Contributor
Sierra Engle, Personality Section Editor
Sierra Engel is a senior at BHS in her first year at Buena Speaks and is the personality section editor. She enjoys reading, especially Gothic literature, and spends her time drawing, writing, and playing sports year round.

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