Internet use a concern in schools

Sara Macho

Internet users everywhere can look up almost anyone’s personal information.

Members of popular sites such as and have no problem listing information such as their birth dates, places of residence and even their cell phone numbers on Internet profiles.

But providing this information may turn into a problem when it gets into the wrong hands.

Martha Ward, library media specialist at Roosevelt High School, said faculty recently met to discuss the safety of students using the Internet at school.

“Though every computer in Kent City Schools contains a filter to block out certain sites deemed inappropriate by faculty, students are still finding loopholes,” Ward said.

Joe Luscre, network manager for the Kent school district, said the filter, which is called NEOnet or Northeast Ohio Network for Educational Technology, divides inappropriate information into categories. These categories are then reviewed by administration, who decide what to block.

But students are discovering search engines that allow them to log onto controversial sites such as, which may contain adult and sexual content.

Ward said she recently had to stop a group of high school students from logging onto the popular Web site.

Filtering out certain content is a result of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which was enacted by sCongress in December 2000.

“The act requires schools and libraries to adopt a policy that monitors Internet activity by minors,” Luscre said.

Carmen Celigoj, director of the Kent Free Library, said the computers feature a filter sponsored by the library’s cooperative, Northeast Ohio Library Association Regional Library System.

Parents who wish to allow their children to use the Internet must sign a permission slip and monitor what Web sites their children are viewing, Celigoj said.

School librarians and teachers are making extra efforts to further monitor students who use the Internet.

Susan Johnson, librarian at both Longcoy and Walls elementary schools, said all parents who have children in the district sign an acceptable use policy. This form allows students to use the Internet with their parents’ consent.

The policy outlines the privileges of using the Internet at school. If a student misuses this privilege, it will result in suspension or other disciplinary actions. According to the policy guidelines, misuse of the Internet would include illegally installing copyrighted software, browsing with no educational purpose, sending chain letters and sending mass e-mail messages.

School librarians also walk around periodically to check out what sites students are on, Ward said.

“Students are always supervised,” Johnson said. “We keep the screens facing a direction where we would see them.”

But with technologically savvy students, accessing inappropriate sites may still be possible.

“We all need to be vigilant and observant of what minors are looking at,” Ward said.

Contact public affairs reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].