Dear HISD

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What’s With the HISD Internet Filter at Home?

hisd

Kevin Melendez, Bellaire, 2016

Dear HISD,

I came home today, determined on finishing my homework before 10:00. Reasoning I had a bit of free time before starting homework, I decided to check my Facebook page using the PowerUp laptop to see if anything was new. What met me was a sight that I had seen a couple of times before: The HISD Logo and the dreaded words: “Access Denied. Your request was denied because of its content categorization: Category: Teacher Client Allowed”. I went to other websites usually banned by the HISD school filters, and all of them had the same result. Imgur and 4Chan were banned due to “Harmful Technology”, and Reddit and Pandora under “Harmful Entertainment”.

I understand why these sites would normally be banned at school. What I don’t understand is why they’re being banned outside of school, at home.

Inside the classroom, these websites are a distraction and I agree that they should not be accessible, as they would take away from the learning environment. Outside of school, however, is a different story. The learning environment outside the classroom is different from the one inside, and as such should be treated differently.

Students should be able to access sites like Imgur for simple things like QR codes and funny pictures, and Pandora for music. I understand that these websites, along with others, may have inappropriate material, but why ban the entire site if only a portion of it falls under the inappropriate content HISD bans? That’d be akin to selling a car for parts because parts of the paint are faded! Instead of applying the entirety of the school’s internet filters at home, why not allow basic access to websites, only banning the portions HISD considers inappropriate? I’m sure a lot of students would find this more agreeable than having the whole site banned.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t judge an entire website by focusing on a small portion of its content. If HISD filters are going to be implemented into the homes of students through their PowerUp laptops, then said filters should be a bit more loose, due to the lack of a typical school “learning environment”. They should allow access to websites like Imgur and Pandora (among others), only filtering things considered inappropriate.

Thanks,

Kevin

4 comments on “What’s With the HISD Internet Filter at Home?

  1. Evelyn Zuniga
    April 27, 2015

    I am a Senior at East Early College High School. I remember coming home ready to finish my HCC English assignment using my Power Up laptop, that was issued to us for school work, and found that same picture. My English class requires a weekly post on Tumblr that I am no longer able to do because HISD has blocked the website out of school. I would normally wait to do my post at home, because that is when I had access, but now I cannot do it even at home. I just feel that they should reconsider the blockage out of school. I think it’s crazy that even websites that are required for school work are banned.

  2. Triniti West
    September 24, 2015

    I wanted to update Internet Explorer becuase I needed to use Google Drive to complete the assignment and the current version on the PowerUp laptops does not support Google Drive. So, I have no way to do my homework because Google Chrome does not work (my Shockwave Flash plugin stops responding for some reason and the computer tech at my school doesn’t know how to fix it) and I just wanted to update Internet Explorer! Someone fix this, ASAP!! I need to do my homework!

  3. Lea Weatherall
    September 29, 2015

    There are ways to get around the blocking server if you know the right websites. Hisd mainly has to block those sights because not all of the information can be evacuated by hisd. I mean they even blocked the hub once or two for me and on my hub’s main page is the Facebook page for our school which. I’m just glad Twitter is not we used to do history problems on there. 🙂

  4. nhypyltante.science
    October 25, 2015

    The filter may not be disabled at any time that students may be using the district Internet system, if such disabling will cease to protect against access to materials that are prohibited under the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The filter may be disabled during non-student use time for system administrative purposes.

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2015 by and tagged , , , , .

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