The Mount Pleasant, Texas, Independent School District faces security challenges common to many K-12 school systems: a diverse and changing--sometimes precocious--user base, a relatively open environment, and few financial resources.

"One of the biggest problems we have is that a lot of students like to experiment," says Noe Arzate, systems administrator and security guru for the district. In particular, students like to prove to each other that they can access off-limits systems and web sites, Arzate notes. With 5,000 students and roughly 900 employees spread across eight sites, there's reason for concern.

The district's schools are equipped with computer labs, and typically


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