Website access–or lack of–can open a can of worms in school districts

website-accessIn Pennsylvania, some Mars High School teachers and administrators are pressing for YouTube to be unblocked from student computers, but others are hesitant to give students unfettered access because of concerns over content.

“Teachers are beyond frustrated,” said Assistant Superintendent Matthew Friedman.

The current setup blocks the popular video-streaming website from the laptop computers that the district provides each student to take home. A building administrator must approve and allow access to any video on an individual basis.

The issue, of course, isn’t unique to Mars. Sarah McCluan, a spokeswoman with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, said the decision on what–and what not–to allow is generally up to individual districts.

“It’s typically a policy, and not just on what websites are acceptable, but how students are allowed to use school property–including computers and the internet,” she said.

(Next: Problems arise when access is blocked)