NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - When COVID-19 hit, virtual learning followed. Then came a new concern for school district technology directors.
“We had to start considering, are we protecting our kids outside the school walls,” said Nacogdoches ISD technology director, Keirsten Morris.
The 20-year old Children’s Internet Protection Act provides the guidelines. An additional certification requirement for schools is that Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors.
“We’re able to scan through here and see the actual sites that the kids are looking at,” said Morris while scrolling through a student’s activity page. “We review them every day and look at how long they were on that site. If it was viewed or blocked.”
Blocked from those students or possibly other users trying to beat the system.
“We’re catching those words that they’re misspelling, certain words, in order to still get to things they’re wanting to test,” said Morris. Adding that high school age students are usually the demographic bracket trying to enter blocked sites.
But misusers are rarely successful and usually end up in the principal’s office.
“It’s like a blurp of what they were trying to look at it. You don’t want to see it. Trust me,” says Morris when showing some data of one unidentified student’s computer activity.
NISD’S network specialist Stan Riley unlocks a door leading to the noisy computer data center. It’s there where a filtering system monitors harmful content on student and staff devices.
“Either in this device or it goes out to the Cloud if they’re off-campus. And so, if it goes to the cloud it has a manager there that says yes or no to the Chromebook,” explained Riley.
In addition, a protective application on the computer reduces interaction with other individuals. Riley has a vested interest. His elementary age daughter.
“Predators can’t talk with the kids, that kind of thing, so it’s not so much that they can download things, it’s who are they talking to and where are they clicking on.”
Failure to abide by the safety requirements could cause schools and libraries to lose internet discounts.
On Thursday night the Nacogdoches ISD will officially acknowledge the district is in compliance with federal regulations.