AISD Site Blocking: Is It Too Much?

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Every time we try to do research whether it’s for Biology, English, or just trying to read what seems to be an interesting story. This pops ups.

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As you can see that would be very frustrating considering the fact that the words being blocked are “murd*r” or  “s*x” (We’ve used ‘*’ so this story can be read on AISD campuses without being blocked). Now you may be thinking “why are you searching those phrases?” The blocking of the word “s*x” can be anything related to same s*x marriage, s*x-linked cells, or sexual abuse.

For research for several classes, the blocking come up one way or another.

After encountering this several times we wondered, who’s in charge of blocking all of theses sites? So who better to talk to about this then the head principal herself, Mrs. Goka.

After talking with her we realized that she did in fact know about the sites being blocked. She also mentioned one of the reasons for this blocking, is that a lot of the sites can lead to p*rnography.

“I think the big thing is they don’t want p*rnography, or people having access to a lot of perversions. Which I can agree if you’re a middle schooler looking up p*rngraphy. I remember this thing that was so funny when we were doing the Genaustin girls conference, and they were trying to find a cute little title, and they said that a lot of titles that had the word “girl” in it were connected to p*rn sites.”

We also talked to one of the vice principals, Texanna Turner, who had a lot to say about the situation.

“Yes. I am very aware of it, because it catches me sometimes. When I’m trying to look up research for basic stuff. It kind of throws you on some of the things they block, because like what’s wrong with that?”

We asked her if the administrators had any part of deciding what sites would be blocked.

“No we did not. That usually happens above us, and usually with our information technology department, the district’s IT department with the kind of firewalls they put in.”

“I wish there was a way for them to think about the ones that are educational,” said Ms.Turner.  We can assume that most of the students, and teachers can agree with that statement.

Now it may come off as us just ranting about not being able to do our research, but we also spoke to other students who express the same frustration. Freshmen Alma Granados and Nadya Buentello are doing a research paper that requires them to pick a social issue from the past or present, and figure out a solution based on the information they find.

“Ninety percent  of the time it comes up blocked. You can’t even read information from a historical website that’s totally legitimate.”

This issue is not only affecting freshman but eighth graders too. Isabella Aguilar, an eighth grader, was recently doing research in a Project Lead The Way class, when she came upon a blocked website when she was researching about a plant.

It is understandable to block sites related to social media, especially with so many people taking part in it, or to block sites with inappropriate content for younger students. But how is it that something as innocent as a plant gets blocked, but when you type into Google the word ‘sexual’ you can find multiple articles including that word.

Even worse than p*rnography or s*x, Tumblr is blocked for its “Friendship content.” We’re not sure what that is but it must be pretty bad.

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Our question is: how much is too much? It seems like everyday more websites are being blocked and affecting students from middle to high school. We appreciate the lengths that AISD goes to protect us from harmful pages, but it’s come to a point where students are being “protected” from biographies, wildlife and key research for projects and papers.

Myra Noralez is a senior at the Ann Richards School. She has been a staff writer for the Polaris Press since it was founded 3 years ago. Myra is a cross country runner, and basketball player. When not doing school related activities you can usually find Myra giving back to her community, or hanging out with friends and family. You can almost always find her surfing the Yahoo page, or watching videos on YouTube. The motto Myra lives by is “ A day without laughter is a day wasted.” -Charlie Chaplin. She hopes the paper continues to excel, and eventually reach the stars.

4 Comments

  1. Loved the article especially the “Friendship Content” bit. 🙂 One time I was looking up something that happened to have the word ‘butt’ in it and the site was blocked. How bad can the word ‘butt’ be?

  2. Excellent Article! In STEM we had to research a NASA mission. I was looking up the instruments inside one of the satellites, and it was partially blocked! What can be so bad about a NASA mission?

  3. Nice article.. AISD decided to block Youtube, making it very hard if not impossible to do exentsive research and projects on the Internet, WHICH IS WHERE ALL OF OUR INFO COMES FROM. At the very least, AISD should have different blocking-plans for age levels. We aren’t 5 year olds who need protection from the real world. Let us do our research. Most anti-education policy ever.

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