Internet Filter – yes or no?

Trustees need your feedback on whether the Board should start filtering access to web content in our buildings.

At the Board meeting on Mar 19th, CIO Smith presented HDSB #14048 Internet Filter Recommendation: Be it resolved that HDSB approve the acquisition and installation of an Internet Filter and annual subscription not to exceed $100,000 per year.

Veteran reporter, Tim Whitnell, covered the issue in these two articles:

Following two separate incidents of boys in elementary schools in Burlington and Milton accessing pornography, CIO Smith wrote the recommendation for trustees to decide if the HDSB should start filtering. Previously, the question of whether or not to filter was decided by the Director and never brought to the Board table.

As you reflect upon the concerns raised, how would you like your trustee to vote: yes or no? Please feel free to write a comment below. If you prefer to comment anonymously, please email me at or contact your Trustee directly.

Here are some PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS that I have brainstormed:

PRO (In favour of Filtering):

  • The school board has a legal duty to provide for the safety of its students; the law compels parents to send their children to school; the school board stands in loco parentis to the child and exercises the legal authority to guide, direct and keep the child safe.
  • While doing research at school, students may inadvertently stumble on inappropriate sites and be traumatized by them.
  • Accidental exposure to some content may provoke curiosity and encourage inappropriate behaviour.
  • How is using a Filter any different than how the school board currently controls what books, magazines, etc. are made available in our school libraries?
  • With the HDSB’s expansion of wireless connectivity, students can access the HDSB wireless from areas outside of the classroom now (hallways, washrooms, etc.) where students are not supervised.
  • Teachers, while doing their best, cannot monitor all screens during computer lab time as well as teach, answer questions and direct the student learning.
  • Close teacher supervision is impossible during elementary nutrition breaks or during high school lunch or spare periods.
  • Some parents use a Filter at home and if the school board does not Filter, those students may actively search for opportunities to explore inappropriate sites and share them with their fellow students.
  • It is irrelevant what students can access through their cell phones. Those students’ parents provided those cell phones and bear the responsibility for what happens with their use.
  • Without a Filter, does the HDSB have the manpower to monitor which devices (IP address) visit inappropriate sites and then consequence the abuser accordingly? How much time is spent monitoring usage by central staff now? Wouldn’t IT staff time be better spent providing IT support to schools?

CON (against Filtering)

  • The HDSB has an IT Code of Conduct Acceptable Use Procedure for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), that students/parents are informed/reminded about every September. It is very important that our students learn to be good Digital Citizens; be it to not participate in cyber bullying, to not visit inappropriate sites, etc. Our goal is to teach and support learning.
  • HDSB staff are responsible for supervising students. Technology enhances teaching, but students must continue to be supervised when using technology. Accidental exposure to inappropriate content may happen, but students must be taught expected protocol to follow when that happens. They’ll also learn strategies to search the internet while decreasing those risks.
  • Filtering will not prevent students from accessing inappropriate content through external networks (cell phones). Currently, personal devices vastly outnumber school-supplied devices in Ward 6 Burlington schools. Filtering may cause a rapid increase in the number of parents asked by their child to provide data plans on their child’s cell phones. One of public education’s goals is to provide equity for our students regardless of their family’s socio-economics.
  • Filtering may encourage students to bring inappropriate content on their personal device or a usb stick to school and flaunt it.
  • Filtering will not prevent students from sharing inappropriate content through email, Google Docs, etc.
  • Filtering is a one-size-fits-all type of solution. A site that is deemed a risk for a Grade 3 student may be completely appropriate for a Grade 8 student.
  • Even if the Filter could block content according to grade level, there are students working above and below grade level in almost every classroom. That is why ‘differentiation’ is such a big issue in education these days. Can the Filter be programmed individually? If so, who would do it and how time consuming would it be?
  • Over-filtering may prevent students from visiting websites with valuable learning content. Will parents be consulted about which categories will be blocked?  (dating, abortion, alternative beliefs, LGBTQ, addictions, etc.)
  • Students needing to research LGBTQ, safe sex, STD symptoms, etc. may only feel safe doing so at school. Vulnerable students need access to information in public schools. Filtering is notorious for casting a wide net and erring on the side of caution.
  • No Filter is 100% effective at blocking inappropriate content, so Filtering may provide parents (and staff) with a false sense of security. It may lead teachers to be less vigilant in supervising student computer use if they feel that the Filter is doing it for them.
  • If a Filter is used at home, will those parents expect the same categories to be blocked at the HDSB and then be upset to learn their child can access a site at the HDSB that they don’t want their child to visit? Is this a manageable expectation?
  • If students are determined to visit inappropriate sites, they will find opportunities to do so. Moreover, some students will take it as a personal challenge to override the Filter and proxies. To prove their success, those students would need to show the porn they accessed to other students. This would increase the viewing of porn.
  • In 2008 and 2009, Bill 128 and Bill 202 were proposed to force Filtering on all school and public library computers. While the Bills were not passed into legislation, the Ontario Library Association and the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries voiced their strong opposition to such legislation.
  • Over the past 4 years, the Ministry of Education has consistently cut funding for technology each year. Parents in our schools sacrifice time, energy and cash to fundraise the money to supplement school technology budgets. Board IT dollars should be spent supporting student learning, not wasted on Filtering to control the behaviours of a few students. I have left the issue of cost for last because even if Filters were free, I feel their use is worthy of a debate.

These are MY preliminary thoughts about each side of the argument. As always, I will continue to research this issue before coming to a conclusion about how I should vote. A friend has referred me to:

For your reference, here are two background HDSB documents:

I would really appreciate hearing your opinion on this matter. It would be very helpful to hear from parents who have siblings in both elementary and secondary schools as the concerns are different. Please feel free to contact me directly or your Trustee before we vote.


155 thoughts on “Internet Filter – yes or no?

  1. With a cost per school being around 5K (at an extreme) this is a reasonable measure to ensure children are adequately protected. Further I am shocked that this is not already in place.

    While it would be ideal to invest in supporting children in learning, adequate protection comes first.

    • Yes yes yes, I agree. No matter how many devices the school can provide, even if it’s a few less because of the cost of a filter, pls keep them safe for the eyes and minds that we entrust to u everyday.

    • Please implement a filter! My children have attended schools in a board with filters and I have worked in such a board. It was very reassuring to know that “someone” was watching/protecting children from some of the awful stuff out there. Yes, teachers have the responsibility to monitor what children are looking at/seeing — however, my own children are very quick to flip to different screens when one of their parents approaches. The filter makes sense and is worth the money.

    • You don’t need to put a filter on the devices, you only need to control what parts of the internet can be accessed from your network. Much cheaper, and much simpler to implement and maintain.

      • Completely agree with Bob P.
        With youth being overly distracted by social media and web surfing, it’s imperative that – at least at school – their net access is overseen as they refocus on education.

  2. Vote yes on the filter. My children were previously in a school that had such a system and in no way was their ability to work and learn impeded by its presence. Any educated IT person, which I assume the schools have, can do any quick alterations to broaden or tighten the filter’s search, should it be deemed necessary, within a short period of time. No one in the publicly-funded educational or working administrative office should need access to those types of websites unless under extreme duress or need, which would then require some form of formal or informal review to OK, depending on the nature of the situation. Otherwise, simply use a no-brainer protective filter system such as K9 nanny where the password is highly controlled by the board supervisor or superintendent. It shouldn’t necessarily require a $100 system but if it does, short-term pain for long-term gain.

  3. Yes to filter, definitely. This will not have any impact on their searches which are either homework or school related. Also, reduces distractions while they really need to be concentrating on school work.

    • We are grade 9 students at Dr Frank J Hayden Secondary School and blocks are actually not needed. Our school is internet based and if you put blocks on our internet and social media you are disrupting our learning. This is a waste of money. Internet blocks are so simple to get around, so Halton’s money is going to waste. Regarding the concern for young kids accidentally visiting inappropriate websites, most elementary classes involving internet use are guided by teachers, so for a young kid to click on a disturbing site would be very rare. It is a mistake to spend so much money on something that happens so rarely. If kids are going to look up these websites at school they can just as easily look it up at home. There are to many sites on the internet to block.Who is to deem what is and is appropriate and inappropriate? Limiting our internet access will effect US.

      Georgia Haycock and Alex Wyatt

  4. I’m not opposed to a filter. In fact, I’d figured one was already in place. But if you’re spending $100k or more, let’s make sure the solution actually works. From the article, it sounds like it will work on anything that connects to Board WiFi, so bring-from-home devices could still be covered if that’s how they get on the Internet. That would be fine. (If that’s not how it works though, and my son could get around the filter on his WiFi-only Chromebook, then that’s not a good product and I wouldn’t support spending a single dime on it. I can block websites using my router at home.) It’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure their kids aren’t abusing their data plans by looking at inappropriate material at school on a cellular data-enabled phone. And just don’t overblock.

  5. I hope you cast your vote no. Rather than try to stifle and restrict information, it should be an educational systems responsibility to promote creativity, free thought and inquisitiveness. All of the Con arguments seems to be arrived at with these three principals in mind. All of the Pro arguments are based on fear. What is the lesson we are teaching here?

    • Couldn’t have said it better – well stated! Blocking potentially useful information for thousands of children because of two kids visiting an inappropriate site seems to be an expensive knee-jerk reaction. It is our responsibility as teachers and parents to promote technology as an invaluable learning tool. I have two children at Hayden and I trust that they and their friends, with my guidance, understand what is and isn’t appropriate. That is [one of] our job as parents. There will always be exceptions to every rule; where do you draw the line between what is blocked/inappropriate and what isn’t? What one parent deems inappropriate, whether it be for cultural or personal reasons, may not be to another. Not to mention the cost and management of such an undertaking. Among many other responsibilities, my job requires me to work and research online, design websites and manage social media sites. I am very familiar with technology and the online and social media community. Conversations with many other parents indicate a general lack of knowledge with respect to social media and online content, particularly with what their kids are using at school or for personal use – not judging, just an observation. Indifference, a sense of feeling overwhelmed with technology, or a lack of desire to learn about it also prevailed. We have to understand our children are the technology generation and will always be exposed to this kind of content. Let’s teach them how to better use these tools, rather than suppress them. Better yet, engage with your kids and let them teach and educate YOU about the various online tools and apps they use for school and personal interest. Despite my familiarity with the internet, my children have and continue to show me new things on a daily basis. Informed comprehension makes for informed decisions.

  6. What I don’t think alot of people on here understand, based on the comments I’m reading, is there already exists the standard filtering (no different than at home where you can set your levels of filtering). This is for an upgrade in the level of filtering and monitoring. WIth a $100,000+ price tag, I think the money can be better spent on student learning. Also, this increase in filtering will still not affect kids with digital devices that use plans provided by BELL or others that are not on the school network. Its a partial solution to a larger problem.

    • You are mistaken. There is no filter currently in place, but I agree with your statement that money is better spent on student learning.

  7. Yes of course you should have a filter, it’s common sense. You should also never pay $100,000 for it, this is also common sense. Many of these software services are free.
    Also, you can buy twice the amount of Andriod based tablets than iPads. Public schools do not need premium hardware for surfing the internet. Thank you.

  8. I have permission to post this comment I received by email from a ward 6 parent:

    I believe the available IT dollars the school is allocated should be spent supporting student learning. I’d prefer the cost of an Internet Filter & annual subscription was spent on the purchase of iPads, new software and other tools to help with student learning.

    An important point to note with “filtering” is that any WiFi filter the Board might install does not cover all users of technology on board property. For example, if a student brought a device to school, and if they had a Rogers or Bell Mobility plan, they can still surf the internet using that plan and get around any filter installed because they aren’t using the schools’ network. Parents need to take responsibility and install the appropriate applications for their child’s electronic device, like an iPhone, that provide some level of site blocking. Teachers and parents need to speak with their children and teach them what is appropriate and what is not. There is no easy fix.

    I completely agree with the rationale on educating students on appropriate use. $100,000+ for filtering is a very large amount of money (that can be better spent elsewhere) and really only offers a partial solution.

  9. YES for sure! we have to do everything we can to ensure that our kids are protected from what ever means that can harm their psyche and infringe on their healthy development. Freedom does not equate exposing them to all damaging material that is floating freely around the net.. I do not agree with exposure that does not promote and foster creativity, learning & academic/educations in the school learning environment. at least let us ensure that where they spend the majority of their time is a safe space, given we do not know what their home environment permits.

  10. I have permission to post this comment I received by email from a Ward 6 parent of young school-aged children:

    I suspect you’ll hear from more parents who wish to have blocking put in place because this is a potential hot button issue, but I am more compelled by the “con” side of this debate. These kinds of expenditures tend to be white elephants that expand and expand in cost while proving to be only partially effective at best. I would much prefer our education dollars be spent on education rather than on techno-boondoggles.

    Incidents of the kind most recently publicized, while uncomfortable for everyone to accept, make good teaching moments for students, teachers, and parents. In situations with younger kids: if they can’t be trusted and/or supervised, then they shouldn’t be on the web at school in any case.

  11. I vote YES !!! I believe we were one of the families in Halton that brought this to the attention of our principal. What is even more unbelievable is that there was NOT a filter or net nanny installed on the school provided laptop. My son has motor issues and the school provided him with the laptop and as parents we presumed there was a net nanny installed ( like the ones we have installed on our home laptops ) , so we let him use the computer with out us sitting right beside him. Boy were we wrong ! The school not only didn’t install any kind of net nanny , the kids have complete unfiltered access to the internet! When we brought this to the attention of the teachers and principal they were surprised. We are extremely careful with what our son watches and has access to at home , so we were very upset to find out that he could access what ever he wanted at school ! Halton is one of the only school boards that I know of that does NOT have a filter. So in conclusion , I vote , YES , 100 % yes to a filter , and frankly I don’t care what it costs …..

  12. I have permission to post this comment I received by email from a ward 6 parent:

    My company filters content for employees. I work remotely (via VPN) so I’m not restricted. I can say from my experience, the filtering has been more of a frustration than anything. I’ve had co-workers who were restricted from useful sites (YouTube) that prevented them from gaining useful information. In this case, training videos had to be looked at from their homes. With YouTube its a 2 edge sword as there are a lot of time wasting opportunities. However, expected professionalism and other HR policies help mitigate abuse.

    With students, I’m thinking the school board controls are insufficient (e.g. supervision, good parenting, etc.) to mitigate the risk of abuse. And, filters are a reasonable solution so long as they are reasonable and do not infringe on other rights and freedoms. If for some reason my child could not get to a site that they need to for a school related task then they have opportunity to do so at home under proper supervision. And, in fact I would look forward to engaging with my kid to help if necessary.

  13. I Vote No. Proper education of internet usage and keeping the computers in public places is about as good as you can do without filtering software but I still vote no. I fully understand the dangers of what the kids can access but I believe that filtering only creates a counter culture of trying to work around the filters and doesn’t set up the kids for the real world.

    I work in IT and these kids will find ways around the filters. Also keep in mind that likely this software will filter out or allow full access to sites like YouTube or Wikipedia. Wikipedia and YouTube both have great content and content that some might decide is inappropriate.

    Most importantly, who gets to decide what is and what isn’t filtered?

    • CIO Smith would decide what to block in consultation with Director Euale. I expect your question will be asked at the Apr 2nd Board meeting. If you want to hear the discussion, you can come to the meeting or listen to the video. Gail Gortmaker posts the video recordings of a Board meeting the day following the Board meeting. You can find them at by clicking on “Boardroom & Trustees”, then “Board Agenda & Minutes”. then “Video” beside the meeting date.

  14. It seems like a lot of money for something that will give a false sense of security that I’m not even sure we should seek. I am compelled to agree with many of the points made in the “Cons” side, especially those around differentiation, use of IT money, the Bring IT goals, and student accountability. There will always be risks and unsuitable content, (although who is the judge of what is unsuitable is another issue in itself), but it is up to us as parents and educators to discuss these risks with our children.

  15. I have permission to post this comment I received by email from a ward 6 parent:

    Thank you for your informative site regarding the issues the board faces on filtering the internet in school.

    I read both the Pro’s and Con’s surrounding the issue and feel strongly against having a filter put on internet access. Its a fools game to think we can actually control the internet access without compromising its benefits to students and school resources.

    Please count us as a NO!

  16. Please vote yes to filtering!

    Although filtering is not a replacement for parental/teacher supervision and teaching our children to navigate the internet responsibly, I would appreciate any help in keeping children away from inappropriate sites until they are more mature.

    Out of curiousity, what grades are under consideration for implementation of filtering?

    • If they were to filter it children will still find a way around it, we can and we probably will.

      • In that case, I would probably change my vote to no filtering. I would like to see it for elementary students, not high school students. I can understand why there is a big outcry in later postings from high school students and teachers!

  17. As a both a parent and teacher in the HDSB I would vote NO to a filter.
    The cost is ridiculous and is not even guaranteed! As indicated in prior posts, the students who need the filter are those most likely to find their way around it!
    These funds would be better spent on direct student learning, with all the cutbacks in education it seems ridiculous to spend money on a bandaid solution to a “problem” that will only continue to evolve as technology does

  18. I think yes on the school internet filter vote. I read the comments on both sides and would to see the content be appropriate for the grade levels. I think finding the best price is important.

  19. Just because a couple of boys looked up the word “porn” should not mean that no studies can have access to information. I use Youtube a lot in my classroom. I cannot imagine teaching without it. If you take this away, videos are no longer accessible. This would be detrimental to the students. They sign a code of conduct. They should be able to regulate themselves. If they cannot, they should be dealt with on an individual basis, not punishing the entire school board community.

  20. I have permission to post this response from a Burlington parent:

    Jennifer, I appreciate the thoroughness of the research you have done regarding this issue. My comments come as a parent (2 now in post secondary school, one in high school and one in elementary) and as one who works with adolescents who have offended sexually as well as with victims of sexual abuse. I don’t think there is an easy answer.

    Generally speaking it would be nice to limit accidental exposure but in the absence of that, I think it is important to teach kids and teachers how to manage if it does happen. Appropriate response is one of the biggest predictors of degree of traumatic impact.

    When our son got his own laptop, he came to us and asked us to install filtering soft-ware. We did so quite easily (there are several free sources for such programs and probably some for sale too). We set the limits according to what we thought made sense in consultation with our then teenaged son. Things worked pretty well until he got to senior biology and sites he needed were blocked. We then loosened the controls and things were fine. He has continued to make use of a filter because as he put it “I don’t want to be bothered with the crappy pop-ups”.

    As a parent I am equally concerned about access to sites with violent content as to those with sexual content. The former appear to be much more prevalent and are imbedded in many readily available games. There are filters that will cover both.

    As a board I don’t think there is one blanket answer. If filtering happens, younger kids need more filters, older kids typically require less. Some of your “con” arguments address the awkwardness of implementing differentiated filtering. As a parent, I expect that when my child takes their own device to school, they are following school rules about its appropriate use and my kids have always known this. I would be pleased to hear from school staff if the device was being used inappropriately (the in loco parentis posture).

    In my gut, I think that my first reaction was vote yes. However, filter or not, appropriate digital citizenship for school and the workplace beyond really stand at the crux of all of this. If we respect people than we will reject input that does not support this basic value, regardless of its source. As educators, do you block access or teach awareness, or both? I don’t have the answer but I guess this is why we have trustees J Either way we will continue to support this message in our home as I expect many caring parents will.

    All the best as you consider this important issue.

  21. Wow!
    I can’t believe I’m going to quote Nancy Reagan, but, “Just say no!”
    Please let the teachers teach! Neither the teachers, nor the kids need Big Brother.
    Please let the the teachers teach, in, and about the real world.
    The kids are all right!

  22. I vote no to the filter.

    I believe the filter will only be a temporary solution and therefore, money and time not well spent. If the kids want to find a way around the filter, they will.

    A better long-term solution is for us (parents and teachers) to teach and guide our kids through materials on the internet instead of censoring materials. The internet will forever have inappropriate material on it – so we should teach and explain to our kids how to deal with it, not hide it.

  23. YES, please implement the filter. I have been very dissapointed and shocked at what my grade 3 child was able to access on the Smartboard internet during unsupervised lunchours. It is hard even in the computer lab for teachers to monitor every screen of every student at all times.

  24. No they should not be put on. I have them on my phne and computer and it blocks even some sites that are not even bad. It makes looking things up or research a lot harder

  25. I agree with many in that there is no perfect solution. Actually, there is no “solution” to the problem. Filters could block material that shouldn’t be blocked. Filters could also be circumvented and yes, we should be in the process of educating our children about being responsible but even innocent fingers can click on the wrong link.

    If we are to train the youth, we have to consider about what we face. Do you have filters at work, or at least monitoring software? Most of us do. Shouldn’t we prepare our youth for what they may face when they enter the workforce? Parents concerned about the $100,000 price tag? I understand that. What about the cost of IT de-bricking a computer because the websites visited had more than just porn, but trojans and other viruses infecting machines that browse the pages? There are nasty things out there other than pornographic images. The more one surfs off the beaten path, the more likely one may come across something they weren’t expecting.

    In an ideal world, we would have an escalating measures platform, where students in elementary would have active filters, with teachers being able to allow/unlock pages as deemed fit (so as not to hamper one’s ‘creativity’). Moving up to juniour high / high school, the easily identifiable websites that traffic porn and potential virus (hacker/warez ) sites would be blocked, but each student would log on with their own credentials based on an honour system. Traffic would be monitored and IF a complaint was filed, the logs would be used to show what sites were or were not viewed. Transgressions would result in reduced priviledges and depending on the sites visited, scholastic punishment.

    We owe it to our children and our education system to use the tools of technology properly. Responsible surfing habits should begin at home, be strengthened and more focused at school and guided as our children grow. There is NO “solution”. What is being proposed is a means to ensure the rights of the many, to learn a supportive in a maturing atmosphere are not detracted by idle hands and inquistive minds that may not be ready for what they find. Our school resources should not be used as a means to a negative end. I vote YES, that the school board should, with the support of teachers and parents, implement a proactive system to filter, monitor and engage our children’s viewing habits, cost and resource effectively.

  26. Please, please….. Do not filter.
    Although the cost vs benefit is in itself reason to give this issue a second look, I believe even more importantly is the opportunity for treading on free speech.
    Free speech is one of the greatest and most precious gifts we Canadians have, it must always be protected and considered paramount especially in our schools.
    The only way our children are going to learn critical thinking and truth is by being able to access all speech and arguments and then making choices based on fact. Given that we are already encountering a great divide on what constitutes our right to free speech vs the right to not be offended, well, the ability of an administrator with an agenda having the power over what information sites are accessible and worthy is a very slippery slope indeed.
    There are terrible nasty sights out there and it bothers me that my daughter may be exposed to some of the filth that is available, however, part of preparing our children for adulthood means giving them the tools to make their own decisions, and knowing they can make good ones, even when Mom and Dad are not there.
    Besides, if your child is at school and a site pops up that makes them uncomfortable, between friends and teachers and counselors I can think of no better environment for them to find the right person to help them address it.

  27. Yes to filter, there is no need for children to have access to the internet while in school. These distractions and full access are prevalent all other hours of a students’ day. I’m sure if the filter goes through we will see a renewed focus in our students.
    I vote YES!

  28. I’m not much of an internet user but my son uses it all the time to research topics for school, watch basketball and gaming utube videos and to set his Dad up to read Greek newspapers. I’ve never had any need to worry about him looking for or coming across disturbing sites or inappropriate sites because he has no interest in pursuing them. He knows what he likes and sticks with it. If kids are wanting to find certain sites they will find them using whatever means they can. I agree that a certain amount of protection should be expressed when dealing with our younger students in grade school but once your child gets to high school you have to learn to give them some space to become adults and trust in their decisions. They might end up getting hold of a site that does upset them or that they have some questions about and hopefully you have already established open communication with them. There is unfiltered information in all types of media and we can’t just hide it and hope that our kids never come across it again. It’s better that we are open with them now about what kinds of things are out there then to have them shocked and unknowing of the dangers. They are growing into adults and we must arm them with knowledge in how to deal with all things. Technology is flooding our world and our schools. Our children will always have it in their lives. We need to ensure that they learn how to deal with it and consequences of misues and how to alert the proper authorities when they find something that isn’t right. I’m for backing up our kids and our teachers with more knowledge and proper tools to teach our kids how to use the internet respectfully and to report abuses. I’m also for teaching our children to have better moral decision making strengths, so that they can better handle all types of offensive media.

  29. I say no. I am a student at Hayden and I have not heard of many students looking at too inappropriate things while at school. If a student chooses to look up something inappropriate while at school it is their choice and their responsibility to deal with the consequences that follow. Also, many students have phones with data which allows them to go on the internet without connecting to the school internet so they could still access inappropriate websites at school.

  30. This is a total waste of money, all it’s going to do is drive our kids data plans through the roof, which we pay for. Leave my tax money for teaching my kids, you’re not going to stop them from surfing. I would have rather you implement a cell phone jammer to be turned on during class minutes. Keep your focus on spending tax dollars on teaching the kids not spending money on a restriction that most of them know how to get around (simple and free vpn will do the trick – there is an app for that). With a signal jammer you can select which frequencies to jam, so voice can be left to appease the parents that want to have access to their kids 24/7. Jam up the data and even the texting and kids have nothing else to do but listen.
    Don’t waste my money, you can’t block kids from getting to sites they want.

    Vote No,

  31. I vote no, the response by the Ontario Library Association to the proposed legislation is very on point.

  32. NO Filter.
    The best filter is a critical mind. Educate.
    Don’t set the political precedent of censoring.

  33. No
    Why frustrate the students?
    If there are abuses or inappropriate sites the individual could have internet access blocked (block their IP Address) for a reasonable time, but not the whole school.

    Teaching respect means showing respect.

    PS If you have an extra $100,000, hiring 2 more teachers will improve the educational experience more.

  34. ~~ Why We Shouldn’t Filter ~~

    INTRODUCTION: My name is Cameron and I’m a Grade 11 student at Nelson High School. I am opposed to the filter for three main reasons:

    1. The filter will be largely ineffective: Any student should they seek out inappropriate things at School (or at home for that matter) will be able to access it regardless of any imposed filters. Students today are incredibly savvy with technology (many more so than their parents or teachers) and can access, and will access what they put their minds to. Solutions range from using a phone to search for things to tethering a phone to a school iPad or laptop to more technically inclined workarounds like proxies (TOR, etc) and VPN.

    2. The ‘stumbling upon’ argument is almost entirely farcical: The notion that students find inappropriate sites by accident is flimsy at best. Search engines like Google have built-in safe-search modes that are turned on by default; these modes decrease the already small chance that a student would find something inappropriate unintentionally.

    3. The money can be put to better use: I know from being a student at Nelson that many parts of the IT solution are outdated and in need of updating. Problems are widely varied, but include: computers that are slow, logging on to servers taking to long, broken mice and keyboards and not enough access to computers in certain areas, like the Library.

    Here are few other arguments that are worth thinking about:
    a) Censorship can be a slippery slope.
    b) Would this filter be transparent, who would decide what goes on it?
    c) Everyone has different opinions on what should and shouldn’t be filtered, how will those contradictions be decided in a fair way?
    d) Will the filter only censor inappropriate sites or also ones that could harm student productivity, how will those things be evaluated?

    CONCLUSION: Filtering won’t stop determined students from accessing inappropriate things on the internet, it’s hard to ‘stumble’ across inappropriate things on the internet and the board’s
    would be acquisition of a filter will cost us valuable resources that could be far better allocated.

    I hope for all students that the filter is struck down and that people everyone will seek to understand the importance of a free and open internet.

  35. I personally hate this idea for dozens of reasons.

    1. Putting up a filter like this wouldn’t stop students from doing what they wish to do. There are many workarounds like using a cell phone with a data plan, sending traffic through a alternative server or as mentioned in the post, simply bringing in the content on a USB or other storage device. In this era, there will always be a new way around whatever barriers we put up.

    2. A filter can block legitimate content. No filter is perfect and no matter what the school does, sites with keywords that are considered inappropriate could be blanket blocked for little to no reason. Would it make sense to stop students from accessing if they posted a story where they mention the word pornography. This, if anything, holds back the learning potential of students.

    3. This filter wouldn’t help the growing problem of technology responsibility. We need to teach students how to use new media and computers with responsibility and discretion. We can’t teach how to make good and critical choices about where they go on the internet if we just blanket block half the web. It’s hypocritical and a step backwards.

    Main point; This wouldn’t stop students from viewing and doing what they want. This would likely block useful content. It sets a bad example for students.

    Please don’t do this, it is a astronomical waste of money that could be used to improve the education of students in the areas of internet safety.

  36. No they should not be put on . our children should not be sheltered , if they happen to come across something that inappropriate, then they will know what to do.

  37. No, there should be no filter. It is far too expensive and the money could be used for other enhancements to education. For our students who rely on technology and the internet to access an education a filter could potentially cause them additional challenges in accessing information. Please vote NO.

  38. Personally I do not think there should be a filter, I’m from Hayden high school currently in grade 10 and my whole school is internet based, if we were to put limits/filter onto the internet there would be so much that our school couldn’t be capable of doing. The cost of this filter for the internet is way too expensive, you could pay teachers instead! The school board shouldn’t punish all schools, for the action of a few. The internet is way to powerful even to put a block on it. Everyone in high school would be very annoyed. For example Hayden, is all internet based, we use twitter for announcements, instagram for photo club and photography classes, we even use tumblr to make projects. so with out said, if you take away the internet, you would be negatively effecting our learning experience.

    Chrisa Pagonis
    Dr Frank J Hayden Seccondary School

  39. If you cant trust us with the internet how can we learn to trust you adults? -Student @Dr Frank J. Hayden Secondary School.

  40. Being a student at hayden, we value our freedom of having access to important websites. Hayden’s students need internet/websites to connect with teachers and other students. A majority of the work we do at school is online and we need access to websites in order to properly do our work. Our staff and students are encouraged to connect and stay organized through social media such as twitter, facebook, instagram, stitch, tumblr, etc. We also use youtube in every class to find educational videos. If students are misusing their internet privileges, then they need to be punished separately, not the entire school. Hayden students are trusted that we won’t abuse our privileges. Limiting our access to important websites is negatively impacting our learning, especially with today’s technology.
    -Silvija, Ellen, and Harman (Hayden Students)

  41. If you are going to spend $100,000 on installing a filter over the board’s WIfi it will be a waste of time and money. With the amount of technological knowledge we students have the filter will be bypassed within 2 seconds. Filter if you want, but I think the money can be better spent elsewhere.

    Joshawa Matthews-Hill – Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School Student

  42. I am a student at Hayden High School. I don’t believe that blocking and filtering everything at our school should happen because of the dumb decisions of two young kids who aren’t even at high school yet and when they do they will realize that it is not cool to do that kind of thing especially in public. There for the immaturity of two young kids with a bad decision should not have to impact all the students in Halton and us not be able to check Facebook on the computers at break or maybe go on netflix on our spare time on the schools computers and there are lots of parents that are saying make it filter everything or block the websites because they don’t go to school here and they don’t care about all the websites like Facebook that we won’t be able to go on anymore. If the parents feel like they have raised there kid right then they won’t go on those websites, especially in public so That’s why I DONT THINK THAT THEY SHOULD FILTER THE INTERNET.

  43. Filters limit us in important information we need to get as HIGH SCHOOL student. If you think we would get traumatized by boobs or what ever you think we would search up… you are wrong. We are aware on what we are looking up and at this age, we have relations with others anyway.
    The fact that we are paying money to block student from valuable information and freedom is crazy. I am so upset that comments above me are for the filter. If you are a parent and you want a filter for these reasons you arent thinking about how you were once a teen and needed you freedom. Student wont search up any inapropriate things on school hours regardless. You can block everything from us but lets be honest if we want to see something we will find a way to find it.

  44. I can’t believe this question is even being asked. We have an internet filter at work simply due to the fact that if someone (an adult no less) walks by a screen and sees an image they disapprove of they can scream sexual harassment, inappropriate working conditions, etc.
    A filter gives the company a least the start of a legitimate defense against potential lawsuits from accidental exposure to inappropriate images. Doing nothing is viewed as pure negligence from a legal perspective. Maybe you should chat with your lawyers about this.

  45. Blocking access to the world wide web is a horrible idea. The internet is the most widely used form of communication and putting restrictions on it would be similar to censorship. Canada is a nation where free speech is part of the bill of rights and freedoms, censoring the internet is a direct violation of this bill and would bring more harm then good when the cost of maintaining this censorship as well as the cost of constantly trying to stay ahead of people who bypass the system.

  46. As Hayden students, in our opinion, the internet should not be filtered. Think of it from our perspective, when we were all told about the wonders of high school one of the main points everybody loves is that we have been given much more freedom to make our own decisions. If we make a mistake – fine, but it is our mistake to make. In a couple of years, a lot of us will be attending university. Do you think that they will be directing what we should and should not be doing? No, we need to learn how to make our own choices and deal with the consequences now.

  47. This should not happen because this is a huge waste of money when students can bypass the filter in under a minute, while showing other students how to.

  48. I am a student of Hayden, and in answer to the question, no. It would be a large waste of money and wasting the opportunity to use that same money to pay for new teachers or other workers to help in order to pay for something like this when its completely ineffective, anybody can easily download some kind of plugin in order to get around the filter and make it not apply to them, taking maybe 1-2 minutes out of their time to do so. Even if they didn’t download any kind of plugin or find some loophole, the way a lot of filters work is it looks for some kind of age restricted or inappropriate word in the URL of a website, so there could easily still be something inappropriate out there under a completely unrelated URL that anybody would most likely still be able to go on. So point is, I think that it would just be a waste of money if its just going to turn out to not make a difference anyway.

  49. I am a student of Hayden as well, and this should not happen because it is wasting money that we need to pay our teachers, for something that can be bypassed in under a minute. This is a waste of $100,000 when we can use this on gym equipment, sporting events/tourneys, classroom tools, e.t.c. Don’t go through with this

  50. To Whom It May Concern,

    I am a grade 10 student at Dr. Frank. J Hayden. It has come to my attention that the Halton District School Board is considering making an internet filter to prevent students from accessing certain websites.

    I believe that the school board should trust students and our internet use. No matter what the school board does to prevent certain sites people will find a way to beat the system or find other alternatives.

    The internet is an online platform that should be accessible for everyone. In my opinion students should create their own boundary when it comes to internet use. I dont think its the school boards duty to prevent internet use and is the parents duty to educate children on appropriate internet use.

    Filtering the internet is not only unnecessary but it is expensive. The money used for the filtering could be used towards other things such as sports, field trips and tournaments.

    In conclusion I would like you to consider my points.

    Thank you in advance

  51. As a student of Dr. Frank J Hayden Secondary School I personally believe that internet filters are just too easy to bypass including too many loop holes along with the huge chunk of money thats going into a already failed project. most internet filters use the same system, using URL keywords to block people from entering different websites with profane key words. If a profane website has no inappropriate keywords than the filter will not know that the website has some startling information.

  52. As a Hayden student, I vote against the use of an internet filter. In this upcoming September 70 teachers in the HDSB are going to be let go because we simply do not have enough money to pay them, now we’re about to take $150 000 that we just do not have on an internet filter that will be basically useless. The average day of a student revolves around the use of the internet and technology, therefore we students know how to bypass filters and firewalls. To the parents and teachers who are for this movement, why aren’t you simply teaching your students and children about what is and isn’t appropriate to be searching at school. If we were to help the students understand that it is wrong instead of taking the internet away from them and those who have not abused our privileges, then the students would learn from their mistakes. I.e: Talking with your child about the seriousness of the situation and why it is wrong to search these things at school. I do not believe that this filter is worth the strain it is going to put on the tax payers and teachers within the school board, it is simply a way to blame the students as a whole instead of helping the students responsible learn from their mistakes. So in conclusion, the internet filter is a waste of time and money.

  53. I vote no. I am a student at Hayden, and I strongly disagree with this measure. Youth need to be taught to use technology responsibly, not blocked from the internet. There are many cases in which students must research somewhat questionable topics such as, alcoholism, STIs, sexual safety, etc. Putting restrictions on the internet disables research on many topics. Instead of restricting access, students and youth should be taught to use the internet responsibly.

  54. I do not agree with the Internet filter. Internet helps students work and learn information. Students will find a way around the filter, and the filter would be not useful. I say no to the filter.

  55. Vote NO. I truly believe that more important to educate our children to be responsible while using the internet. Those money can be better spend to improve education experience for our kids.

  56. We all live in the 21 century which means we all are connected through the internet whether it be through face book or twitter ect. I will admit I am a pretty hard core online gamer but that also means I know the worth of the internet. I also know that gaming in class is not appropriate and should not be done and I don’t because I am responsible human being. Other people need to learn how to use the internet responsibly but on the other hand there are people that don’t know what certain “inappropriate” things are and when a kid looks it up its time for the parents to have a talk with him/her about what they looked up.

  57. Vote No. I find that filters are blunt instruments (much like zero-tolerance policies) which have no capacity for nuance. A search for “John Hancock” may very well be blocked because of the word embedded in the name (this comes from experience with other filters), not to mention the very legitimate research queries students often have to make for topics dealing with sexuality, etc. The internet is how students do research these days, not books in libraries. Filtering will affect their ability to access information and won’t do anything to prevent access to ‘unsavoury’ materials as it has been acknowledged that most students (in high school anyway) have access to unfiltered materials on their personal devices. So, if filtering won’t prevent access, just one route to the access, why do it? Parents and schools share responsibility for teaching children about approriate on-line behaviours and the risks involved but relying on such a blunt instrument undermines this.

  58. I am mainly not complaining because of the internet restrictions i am complaining because $100,000 we could use to improve Hayden and have cool field trips, new computers, sick new ways to learn and make Hayden live up to are motto “BUILT BY STUDENTS FOR STUDENTS”!!!!!
    so i am absolutely against this stupid thing because there are tones of ways to get pass them and with 600 students trying to get pass it they will over time and also we are expecting 400 new student next year so that ten hundred student trying to get pass this lock per say. and we all know we will and then theirs 100,000 dollars wasted. now i heard that the reason why this is happening because some ones kid that attends Hayden went on something not appropriate for school well if that the truth that student should be held responsible by the school, teachers and the parents because one student did something stuiped the hole school suffer and this complate came from a parent so because you cant handle what your child goes on! and now the hole school can loss out on field trips \ new ways and better school so we loss out because you chose to blame the school rather then the chilled being blamed. the school and parent of the student should come up with a way to punish that student either extra home work, suspended and even maybe exposition.
    southerly Troy a member of the student council

  59. Vote No to Filters…but change the way they gain access to the HDSB sponsored Internet Access. As parents our goal is to teach our kids how to make decisions. When making decisions, one must always weight the pros (Benefits) and cons (Consequences). If the HDSB changed the way our kids get access to the school provided internet by enforcing a login, unique student ID# + PIN, they would be more likely to abide by the Terms of the Acceptable Use Policy. If they break the Acceptable Use policy, then their account is temporarily suspended or permanently suspended for repeat offences. It’s similar to the decision to drive irresponsibly (ie speeding), however without the inherent dangers of reckless driving. When speeding the driver decides to ignore the Highway Act (Acceptable Use Policy) and assumes the consequences (fines and possibly license suspension) if they get caught. When providing internet access the HDSB is no different than any other Internet Service provider (Bell, Cogeco, etc…) , do these companies allow you to gain access to their networks without login credentials? No they need to control access to protect their resources as well as 3rd party liability. As long as the HDSB can protect the users privacy, I would fully support controlling access to the HDSB internet by the use of login credentials. Let’s teach our kids to make good decisions by allowing them to be responsible.

  60. No they should not install it!! The have it at peel and it sucked i wont be able to go on facebook on my free time , there spending so much money and instead of just telling the children to mature and stop being little idiots. They really should not spend there money and its so easy to bypass the filter.

  61. I say no because it is the parent’s fault that they are not controlling their child’s device and their mentality. Instead they are saying that it is the school’s fault.

  62. Personally I think it’s a fine Idea to ban sites with things like pornography, however things like social media should most definitely not be banned. At our school we use social media for things like announcements.Therefore banning those websites would be horrible for us.

  63. I strongly disagree in filtering the wifi because as a hayden student, our school uses technology all the time, and if you were to filter the wifi, we would not be able to complete certain assignments at school when we are given time because it will not work. Another point is that most students have data on their phone, therefore it is easy for them to use their data to look at whatever they want. Also, phones now have a personal hot spot so people can stream there phone data to their devices. Students also know their way around google and can easily search “how to bypass school filters” and you will get a lot of results. If they installed the filters in the wifi, I believe that it will just be a waste of money because no one will use the wifi anymore and they will be spending all of that money for nothing.

  64. No they shouldn’t install the filter! I am student at Hayden High school and we are a technology based school. By taking away certain websites, limits our ability to be a technology based school and doesn’t allow us to be unique and any different from any other high schools.
    Also, we shouldn’t be punished because of two immature students in elementary school. Kids need to learn from their mistakes they don’t have to buy a filter to punish everyone. Having people talk to the kids about using their technology appropriately is a simple and less expensive way to go about the situation.
    Another reason they shouldn’t install the filter is because its easy to by pass the filter and once one person figures out how to, everyone will. This will be a waste of money.

  65. I strongly disagree because at my school, Dr.Frank J. Hayden we use internet everyday to do our work. We use social networks such as Twitter for announcements which are more effective than a PA system because if we forget things during the day we can go to twitter and check. We also use youtube for our math channel and educational videos, I find that students learn better by watching fun videos than watching someone write on a board. Also since we have a Burlington Public Library here most students would just use their internet. Students at Hayden feel proud of the freedom and trust that we have been given and to take it away would be horrible. Websites that we enjoy using in our free time that may not be bad but have more mature things that our parents trust us to be around would be taken away along with the idea of creating a school that is more future friendly. Also all that money could go to giving back those poor teacher’s jobs and all it takes is for one person to find out a way past the filter before the whole school has gotten past it. So why not use that money to train teachers on how to show kids what is appropriate online and what is not along with how to use the internet responsibly. Thank you.

  66. No please do not implement filters for $100,000, if our school board cant even afford to bus students that live 4 kilometers away from school like me.

    Student at Hayden named Kevin

  67. As a high school student I disagree with the idea to spend $100 000 per year on internet filters on school computers. Of course, pornography and other inappropriate has no place in schools or anywhere else for that matter, but as a student I have never seen anyone view inappropriate websites at school. Students could easily bypass the filter by Googling. how to work around it, so the filter would have limited success even if it was installed. Also, many students have their own laptops and phones that they could search whatever they want on it. The filter would also ban social media, which we use for announcements at our school. In my opinion $100 000 is a complete waste of funds, that could be used for much more beneficial things for schools across Halton

  68. Flirting the internet so Hayden students, can’t use certain websites would be annoying because I would be wasting class time, looking for other websites, instead of using the class time for any projects, assignments, and homework students may have. Blocking the internet is basically telling students all around the Halton region, that the Halton staff, either don’t trust us, don’t think we are mature enough or have to baby sit us/hold our hands every second. Halton students wouldn’t be prepared for college or anything beyond high school because we will be so sheltered and un prepared for the real life that has maturity and responsibility.

  69. Filters are pointless! $100000 could be used for so much better things! We all have 3G on our phones anyways if we really want to go on the weird sites like you parents seem to think we go on we can anyways your filter wont do shit! And no one does anyways! If your kid is going on porn during class seriously your kid has some problems go have a talk to them! Your want to pay $100000 for a filter that’s going to keep like that one odd kid off weird sites! I’m pretty sure your kid knows what a dick or a vagina is calm down.

  70. I am a student. I do not agree with the filter idea. Just because a couple students looked up something they shouldn’t have doesn’t mean that everybody using the hdsb wifi should be censored. It is the parents job to educate their children on what is and what isn’t right, blaming the board for it is wrong. Banning pornographic content is fine, but banning youtube isn’t. How are we going to complete assignments for health class? I am a student at hayden and our whole school runs off the internet. These filters will most likely be taken farther than they should. In every one of my classes and almost everyday we use youtube, TED and other websites to help us learn better. The announcements for our school runs off twitter. In 30 seconds using google i found out 8 ways on how to bypass the filter. These methods are not complex and can be done by everybody. This money could be put towards better things.

  71. its a useless waste of money there are people dying outside and we are waisting 100,000 dollars on filter that students can get around and students will still do what they want this will not stop them they can use phone data and hospot it there are many ways to get around these filters and this money could go towards better things.

  72. Parents are the ones who are at fault. Teach your kid to satisfy himself/herself at home. There is no need to hurt the whole school population. The board should spend 100,000 on teaching parents how to teach their children

  73. Ok, this is not right. As a Hayden student I personally don’t think that this is the right thing to do. Why should we have to pay for a filter when its not the schools fault for what these kids have done. The parents are to blame, kids wouldn’t be watching this stuff if their parents raised them properly. These are elementary school kids that are doing this and if I’m not mistaken they got in trouble for viewing pornography. Parents are saying that the kids should be supervised 24/7 at school but answer this, Do you supervise everything your child does at home? Do you keep track of what they do on the internet at home or at friends, because if you did, we wouldn’t have this problem would we. I hope parents are aware that us high school students get affected by this as well, by blocking sites we are limited to things for research for certain history topics and sex Ed. We are a school of technology, that all we use, this is the new generation, raise your kids right and this wouldn’t happen. Do you really want all of us kids to be effected by you and your kids mistake.

  74. I am a Hayden student, I strongly disagree with this idea, it is a huge waste of money, considering it is unbelievably easy to bypass this/any filter, just to get rid of websites that could be useful for classes and/or used unconventional for classes though student should be able to tell their limits with class outlines and rules, students can easily avoid these unconventional links at all cost. The money put into this unreasonable filter could be used for way better purposes such as technology to improve students/teachers learning experiences.

  75. Yes to filters. While you cannot control what students are accessing on their smartphones you can control what you do have influence over, namely the public access. This is an issue of public responsibility and educators, like doctors in my mind, should take a do no harm approach. I expect as a parent that to the best of the school boards ability that they will provide a safe and healthy learning environment for the youth. Even the Canadian law dictates that you can’t sell adult magazines to those under age then why would we not make a concerted effort to close the doors to things that could put them at risk. This is a no-brainer!

    • Providing a self and healthy learning environment doesn’t necessarily mean internet filters. It means staff supervision when young students are left alone with technology, and education and trust in older students. A healthy learning environment is not one with restrictions; it is one with freedoms and trust.

  76. Hello, my name is Olivia Browning and I am a student at Dr. Frank J Hayden Secondary School.

    When I first heard about the school board planning to use $150,000 a year to filter internet use, I thought that it will be an ineffective misuse of money because there are so many loopholes around it. I still believe my first thought.

    Many students who are technology savvy can find a way through the filters in 2 minutes or less. Then it will only take 1 minute for these students to text or tweet or email their friends into how to avoid the filter. I personally think that this is going to be a huge waste in money, when it can be used for so many other things, like making more job opportunities (not reducing them) or using the money to decrease high school drug/alcohol use. Students won’t stop doing these things no matter how much money you put into it. I understand that you think this will help inappropriate internet but truthfully, it may even increase the amount!

    Please reconsider, because I can almost guarantee you that this decision will be something you will regret in the future.


  77. In my opinion, punishing thousands of kids because of a few students is a bad idea. You are planning on spending up to $100,000 because of two kids who made bad choices. If every time a kid made a irresponsible decision, the school board spent hundreds of thousands of dollars then you’d be spending a lot of money.

    I think a better way of dealing with issues like these is to give students the benefit of the doubt and punish students who are immature by suspending their internet privileges.

    Also, the system you would be putting in would be easy to bypass and therefore a waste of money.

    In conclusion, I believe that this is not the way to deal with this problem and that by doing this you would be making a mistake.

    Samantha Smith – Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary Student

  78. Please don’t put internet filters we are in hayden secondary school, a school that relies on technology and communication to thrive it’s paradigm of 21st century learning !

  79. My name is Sherina Harris. I am a grade 10 student at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School, and I am extremely opposed to this proposed filter.

    Hayden is a school that embraces 21st century learning. Our students are preparing for the future. We are preparing to enter the workplace in a world with a guaranteed prevalence of technology. By restricting our access, you would only be halting our learning, and making us less prepared to leave school.

    As a student involved in Google Drive Presentations to teach parents and members of the community how we at Hayden use technology to enhance our learning, as well as a student who as firsthand seen the benefits of using the internet to help learn, I think the idea is ludicrous.

    I think filters are like safety nets; they might work, but as soon as they are removed, students will fall. What will happen to young students, who are exposed to internet filters for all of their schooling career, when they move into the real world and don’t have a filter? Real life isn’t filtered, and the internet shouldn’t be, either.

    Furthermore, filters are extremely easy to bypass. A two-second Google search can provide students with the information to bypass a $100 000 idea. Worth it? I don’t think so.

    Instead, how about using that money to hire more teachers, who could actually help students to understand how to properly use the internet. Or, to help students learn more. By having filters, you aren’t letting students learn about right or wrong, or about how to search safely. You are restricting their freedom, their learning, and as I’m sure you’ve seen in many of the student comments, we will not stand for that.

    We fear what we do not know. As children, we are afraid of the dark, because we don’t know what monstrous creatures could be lurking in it. Apparently, some adults are afraid of unrestricted access to the internet. Why? Because they do not know what is out there. And while this is valid, it doesn’t mean that our learning should be compromised because some people are scared.

    The internet could be called the modern day sandbox. It is a child’s playground – to learn, explore, and discover about themselves, and the world around them. Parents let their children play in sandboxes and parks, even though they could injure themselves. Why is the internet any different? (Answer: it’s not).

    I hope as you consider the opinions of all of the people affected by this, you keep in mind that the people who this would affect most, the students, are completely and utterly opposed to it, as I’m sure mine and other comments can show you.

    At Hayden, student voice is extremely important. I hope the same can be said for this vote.


  80. I personally believe that there is no point in wasting $100000 on a filtering system that is really pointless. The entire idea of the school is that we are technology based and if we add filtering systems then it could limit our learning ability. It is impossible to block out every sight that contains inappropriate content and if a student were to accidentally stumble upon one then I’m sure they won’t be “traumatized” seeing as were are all high school students that can get over seeing something that makes them uncomfortable. Also, many of these sights are difficult to get to unless you are actually searching for them and in that case people can always find a way to get around a firewall or they will just look up the website elsewhere. $100000 is a lot of money and I believe it could be spent more wisely, like on enhancements to the school, having more available technoligy to students, extra curricular activities and fun events for staff and students. If parents and staff have more trust in the students of the school then they will have more respect for you and will become more responsible themselves.

  81. The fact that some kids can bypass it is not the issue. It should be there and there might even be some legal liability issues with not having at least attempted to have something. As far as the cost I think there are other options out there such as OpenDNS that are far cheaper. It works well and will provide a basic blanket protection that can be overridden on a URL by URL basis. Please investigate OpenDNS.

  82. No
    $100.000 Can be better spent, to help autistic kids for example.
    I don’t mind internet filtering for kids. I use OpenDNS at home.
    Easy to setup, no installation required. Should be fraction of this cost.

  83. I am a high school student at Hayden and I changed my mined and I think that there is no reason to say no, i mean we can get the websites we need and the one’s that are harmful can be blocked so I don’t know why there is a problem of spending the money to this filter. After all we are not spending this money. And this money is only going to good use. If the kids are bypassing the filter, then it it is their decision. Then it is their parents decision to do it.

  84. Jennifer Hlusko,

    Please keep the following in mind:

    Internet filters will also increase the digital divide (economical inequality). Not all students have access to the internet at home. They rely on our schools to support their research, exploration and learning. Installing filters will increase the gap between those who have and those who don’t have. Students with phones/devices and personal data plans can still access the unfiltered Internet, while students without these luxuries are left behind. Especially in secondary these filters will restrict more than they will protect. #nofilter

  85. Pingback: What You Write | Jennifer HLUSKO

  86. I vote yes! It may not be perfect but it will block most activity. Those that want to gain access will but will have to be much more intentional about it. And in today’s instant society if it takes a few more steps like setting up a tether of VPN, even that won’t happen as often.
    I too am very surprised & disappointed that this isn’t in place already. I also support the idea of signal blockers in classrooms during class time to eliminate the distraction of texts at least.

    • It is this argument exactly that makes strongly urge the school trustees to vote NO for Internet Filtering.
      Signal Blockers in classrooms so students can’t use their own devices? I can think of several educational tools that I use often that would be impacted by this (, Remind101, Twitter).
      The Internet is too important of a classroom tool to try and censor. We should be raising 21st Century Learners, students who understand how to use technology responsibly. We can’t do that if we don’t trust our students enough to let them make mistakes.

      Jamie Mitchell
      Program Lead of Mathematics, Science and The Arts
      Dr Frank J. Hayden Secondary School

  87. Hello & thank you for the opportunity to vote on the Internet Filter issue.

    I would like to register a YES vote – meaning I would like a filter to be purchased and installed for the HDSB’s computer system. It is next to impossible to monitor what is viewed on computer screens at school.

    As a Library Volunteer I have personally witnessed students accessing unacceptable sites. If I can view the screens so too can other library visitors of all ages.

    • Why not turn those moments into learning opportunities and explain to the students why what they are accessing is wrong? Why punish the many for the actions of a few?

      Jamie Mitchell
      Program Lead for Mathematics, Science and The Arts
      Dr Frank J. Hayden Secondary School

      • There are far too many occasions when adults don’t witness a breach at the time is underway, hence the “learning opportunity” is lost. I would also argue that those students are well aware that what they are accessing is wrong.

    • Students at Hayden have access to the public library as well. I don’t believe you could filter those computers through the HDSB: filtering some but not all computers doesn’t make sense.

      I would vote no for the following reasons:
      parents need to teach their young children what is not appropriate, teachers need to continue teaching this in school.
      Individual students need to be held responsible.
      Information needs to be freely accessible.
      Kids without personal devices may have no or limited access to the internet outside of school.
      Some students (with certain special needs: eg Asperger’s) may want to access specific sites for relaxation, for assisting in communication or for expanding their (advanced) learning (youtube is my son’s favourite teacher: if you block youtube, a lot of good material will be lost; if you don’t block it, children have access to “unappropriate videos”).
      Tech savvy students will know their way around a filter.

  88. I vote no. It’s a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent on something that happens so rarely. It could be spent on so many other things that people would be glad for.

  89. NO! Absolutely not! This is the biggest waste of money. No students ever watch porn, etc. at school!

  90. I agree, this filter or these filters need be in place once computers are implemented into the school system and at the student level. This should not even be in question. While as a parent I am fully responsible for my child, it is not fair to blindside any parent, giving a false sense of belief all of these years that this is an automatic implementation and I do not believe I am alone in this basic assumption. If the schools, boards, trustees etc, have not fulfilled a responsibility to a system put into place and all it entails, (computers) then don’t do half a job,and leave out half of the install process and one of the most important pieces, which in the end, is only potentially leading to problems with our children during school day hours, for then the Board has failed both parent and child, and how is that protection?
    I am to trust the Board, the Teachers and the primary decision makers for my Sons, education and daily school hours and all academics to appropriate curriculum and teaching, I have already spent countless hours on end walking my Sons through homework, assignments etc, but moreso, actually having to teach and learn the lessons myself in order to TEACH them to my children, which has left me in awe and constant question as to what they are really learning or being taught, many a day seems to be not much by terms of legitimate validly and content. I say purchase LESS movies to stick the kids in front of and apply to where it really counts and matters most, EDUCATION and PROTECTION for I am truly upset enough already, that I as the PARENT am also expected to have an continuance being the TEACHER despite the hours, of daytime or evening…the Board, the Teachers and again, the primary decision makers, best do their jobs, they are role models, they are teachers, they are guidance around educating, Teachers and not in place to be buddies and friends to our children, these are true educated, authoritative professional positions . Yet the more movies, Tim bits for behaving for a supply teacher, extensions without penalty and so on, are the further est to the contrary in preparing them for REAL and ACTUAL adult responsibilities, careers and life…cannot recall my Employer promising me an afternoon of movies popcorn and bits, if I behaved and got my required duties and reports in in a timely fashion unto which is simply a part of my responsibility in my job spec and description, as is the teachers, and their own duty lists, as should be the students. TRUST and RESPECT is imperative and pertinent. In reading this, TRUST has already been fractured and splintered for again, years of belief that computers are well grounded, by filters, firewalls and all that is imperative are only NOW being discussed to vote? WHY?
    Nobody said Teaching is easy these days, given all, but neither is policing, nursing, counseling, or factory work where demands are placed upon demands and we all wear 5 different hats a day in doing one positioned type job. So remind me again, how is this preparing our children for the REAL world? Remind me again, how in doing so, you are protecting my children, or living up to half of the job specs and description of duties around protection, safety and education when sticking a movie in which has absolutely NOTHING to due with course content is Teaching? Please remind me, how, and why far too many of our children have not accomplished a fair grade in passing yet are passed, prodded and assisted through general cheating behaviors such as open books, calculators extra time, more extra time etc, in turn giving them a false sense of belief that they indeed are doing well and do understand the lesson at hand, the subject, the entire process?
    This folks, our educational system is not a stage and playwright production, this is real life, and while the need for back to basics is absolutely prevalent in stop fixing things that are not broken and pay heed to those that are. Children CAN and DO have equal actions to being BOTH seen and heard, contrary to the past days gone by, however, when is it enough, being seen and heard in a respectfully and actual legitimate process is what the goal is to be achieved, rather than taking this matter, and simply allowing them to rule the roost, to be ignorant, bullish and the like, to wander halls, classrooms, in a rude and disruptive way, gee FOLKS you have done really well, in all actuality you have taken a goal, taken aim in direction and misfired the entire concept of a true school, and a true education, you have little to NO backbone, nor do you have an ounce of respect, and all the while you have been the makers of your own demise, while creating the same in our children, we gave to you at age 4 or 5, to serve, to protect and to educate, not to babysit, and simply get through another day….Please once again may you remind me, School Board, HOW this is even remotely to teaching to guidance to protection and to then in turn be applied to REAL it any wonder, why I as an excellent parent have to on a daily basis struggle to maintain respect in the home, and all that comes with it, for I as the parent have in mind the ABSOLUTE and BEST of intentions for my children, and that of course is to watch them succeed and grow into independent educated human beings, who will eventually lead this world…in a much hoped for direction of what all parents hope and dream of their and for their children as they become young adults and onwards.
    KNOWING the entire education system ground up, is actually destroying the very inner core of what my child was taught and led to believe by school age, and continuing as my role as a parent is and has gotten so convoluted and absolutely ridiculously complicated and difficult for I as the parent teach my child RIGHT from WRONG, real life experiences, all the while during the school day hours the educational system is setting them up for true failure to making is so stressful and so difficult for our kids to really achieve to the sense of REALITY vs FANTASY, all the while they can speak freely, text and talk thru lessons, and scan the internet for all but what they should be, so please once again, remind me in how waiting this many years post computer implementation at student school level has actually helped, prepared and more so protected my Sons and guided them from right to wrong and visa verse?
    Common sense prevails enough with surveys etc, take charge take action and now undue much unnecessary damage to which has been allowed by not placing filters, by not teaching by the book, by allowing cheating and a false sense of self esteem and pride to our children, to convoluted roles and positions, as earned, by TRUST and BY RESPECT to which has been stripped and so destroyed in much of our youth today, to which shall become soon, the leaders of this into the next generation. Time to take a stance, and do right by all, for already with so much water under the bride talk time is UP, and DO time is absolutely and nothing short of NOW!
    There is NO “I” in TEAM, and a team effort by fairness is required to ensure a quality education ground up to work effectively and as it should, by not dumping all responsibilities to the parents especially around damage control learned during the school day, but rather, by working together to ensure our children and ALL of them have a fair right and a fair access to not only education but to REALITY post education, and or also during. I have worked with all ages and walks of life, the most difficult being the young adults post High School, those who cannot work, cannot hold a job, cannot cope, who are so damaged via self esteem in the present for what how and by, the educational system overall led them to believe rather than led them to self sufficiency and knowledge lending to the REAL world by failure to protect and provide necessities in this WORLD we call today, a true and sad mess… CANNOT simply dump all RIGHTS into the lap of a child who has not by nature yet achieved the emotional clarity and understanding of what those rights are, what they mean and how they play a role, by achievement in today’s world by choices mislead and disbelieved by a totally false and failed approach to TEACHING and TEACHING by protection, such as FILTERS, to which and where this very REAL protection is required, not only NOW, but in their total sense and concept then of how their rights, fall into and around protection etc, Rather in turn, by falsehood and inadequate and failed efforts by both Teachers and the Board, you have failed protection thus far, and in a whole sense protect them falsely given them a very false sense of WHY they require such protection vs why they should be protected say by failing a course…………which has led largely to false sense of beliefs of the difference between a well grounded self esteem vs what we see now more so is an attitudinal false sense of self centered basis to which you have led them to believe they are ALL by whole and right, perfect, smart, confident etc, when you do NOT know or see them on home turf where they KNOW and have been taught how these are best achieved by true and real effort, how by LEARNING and via constructive criticism, they are given all best interests a parent holds to their children, for the real world in a very REAL sense of the word, that one must achieve, by learning, by real life experience, by righting wrongs, given respect, given fair validity, given real legitimacy…I certainly do not given them a movie night and popcorn, to what reward them for what they have been TAUGHT and KNOW home base, was wrong by their own choice and their own design. I do not install a computer where I cannot supervise, where I set them up to be bullied, stalked or get involved in the wrong sites etc, by those who via the EDUCATIONAL system of today, gave them a full and total sense of everything wrong vs everything right, by make believe grades and kindergarten like assignments which in turn, continues to allow them to behave like children, rather than to what they should be at, as young adults, in speaking aruond the HIGH SCHOOL SET in this case.
    BOARD, TRUSTEES, TEACHERS, you were hired and put into place to do a job, please do it NOW, and stop sitting on the fence which is about to collapse for it is false n fake as all else the educational system has provided to our kids, for a period of about, 20 years, give or take, you are not here to make friends, you are here to do a job and duty, unto which should have already been done making this entire NOW after the fact matter, so outrageously unnecessary and a further waste of our dollars to which should have already been applied from day ONE!

    Thank You,

  91. To the Trustees of the Halton District School Board,

    The staff at Dr Frank J. Hayden Secondary School are opposed to the proposal to install Internet Filters at HDSB Schools and would like to take this opportunity to explain how this will impact the education we are able to deliver in our school.

    In September of 2013, our school opened its doors to students for the first time.  Our school was built on a foundation of 21st Century Learning, Physical and Mental Wellness and School Community.  It is a philosophy that we embraced with the understanding that this is how we will help our students discover the leaders, innovators and caregivers that they are. Technology is a key tool in being able to maintain this promise to the youth in our building.

    The reasons for installing the filter that have been detailed all have to do with fear.  Fear our young people will accidentally stumble upon unacceptable material (which is very unlikely), but more to the point, that they will knowingly use our wifi to access pornography.  All of the reasons to vote against such measures are about both educating and trusting our young people.  Please consider how you view the youth in Halton before you draw this very clear judgement of them.

    We ask our students to sign an “acceptable use” policy with regards to our technology.  Students pledge NOT to abuse the technology in the building.  What are we saying to them if we ask them to sign this and then create a filter that makes that mutual agreement null and void?

    As learning partners with our students it is part of our mandate to teach them how to be proper digital citizens.  We talk daily with our students about how to properly use and respect technology. If we filter their access, these conversations become condescending and patronizing.  

    We value and are committed to the principles of equity in our schools.  It has been demonstrated in the past that when filters for sexual content have been placed in schools some of the first sites to be blocked are public health sites that are accessed with information for and about our LGBT population. What happens when there is a disagreement over a particular site being filtered? Filtering the Internet will result in an inequality of information access and be far more restrictive and dangerous than protective.

    Internet filters will also increase the digital divide among students. Not all students have access to the internet at home. They rely on our schools to support their research, exploration and learning. Installing filters will increase the gap between those who have and those who don’t have access to such resources. Students with phones/devices and personal data plans can still access the unfiltered Internet, while students without these luxuries are left behind.

    How will the filter impact the use of the internet for Curriculum related material?  Based on the information found on the website, there are many sites that could be filtered that would directly apply to our school’s curriculum including Law, Health, Civics, and Biology.

    Filtering the wifi also disrespects the technology skills that our students have. With the knowledge and skills our students have, this filter will be easily bypassed by many. Now, instead of a learning opportunity for our youth if they are accessing inappropriate sites, we will need to move directly to a consequence model for this type of behaviour.

    As a school that is the model of community partnership this adds an additional challenge as it will force us to break an agreement that we signed with the Burlington Public Library. In short, we agreed going into this partnership that we would not filter internet use. Since a large number of our computers are shared within our integrated library, students will simply be able to use the BPL server to circumvent the HDSB filters. Again, while this is unique to Hayden, it points out the impracticality of trying to limit student access to the internet.

    As teachers of 21st century learning we are all actively involved in teaching students how to be proper digital citizens.  Part of this includes teaching them how to surf responsibly at school and home.  As one of our students pointed out, if adults don’t trust students, why should students trust adults?

    Thank you for your consideration before you vote on this very important resolution,

    The Staff of Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School

    • Thank you for this thoughtful response. I will contact Director Euale about the wording of the contract between the HDSB, the Burlington Public Library and the City of Burlington. I will then speak to this point at our Board meeting Wed Apr 2nd.

  92. All you emotionally charged helicopters need to step back and think with your brains prior to knee jerking in a project that will have large implementation costs, subscription fees, administrative personnel and the associated infrastructure. Contrary to what some of you think, it is not a simple case of installing some sort of net nanny software and making changes ad hoc. You’ll need a process to submit, review and approve or deny the request. After that, you’ll need to roll out the new rules. Will you do it in release windows or roll ad hoc? Not to mention, if the filter blocks something that your snowflake wants to see, they can just whip out the latest iphone 5 and call it up on that. Or were you all planning to have Faraday cages built into each school. This is political posturing to satisfy a bunch of hand wringing chicken littles.

    • Andrew, the recommendation came from CIO Bruce Smith, not trustees. I have been a trustee since 2003 and this issue has never been discussed at the Board table. Not once. So, it is absolutely not political posturing. CIO Smith wrote the Recommendation in response to parents demanding an Internet Filter after their children accidentally accessed pornographic websites at school.

  93. Yes to a filter. I am quite surprised to learn that such a filter isn’t in place already, as it is in virtually all venues of professional conduct.

    The CEO of RBC is bound by such a filter. Is it really so incredible to have one in a school?

    The $100,000 possible budget is clearly the extreme high end for a redundant, top-tier solution.

    Filters are not just about preventing users from actively seeking out content that is grossly inappropriate in a school setting, but moreso about protecting users, including young children, from being tricked into content.

    Consider a “rickroll”, but instead to a beheading. Or users maliciously lured to phishing or malware sites.

    This is fundamental, basic protection, as there is a world of very malicious content a single click away.

    It is somewhat ironic that many of the objections incant the notion that such an implementation is a knee-jerk response to fear, yet those same objections attempt to foment fear: A basic filter does not mean you won’t be able to access Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, or whichever other sites have entertainment or educational purposes. The filter proposal as I have seen is based upon a blacklist dictionary of *egregiously* bad sites, rather than being a whitelist of only formally allowed sites. I can see no scenario where this could intrude with education or being a good net citizen whatsoever.

    • Who manages the white/black list? What you find inoffensive, others may find repugnant. There is already a code of conduct in place regarding internet use. Yes, RBC has a filter, but it is a hell of a lot more expensive than 100k per year. Just the process of approving what is and is not allowed would cost more than that in administrative overhead alone. This is another knee jerk reaction just like having the buzz locks on on the schools because of Newtown.

        • ThompsonReuters has a workplace filter that filtered out a major European newspaper, because it ran an ad for a dating service (such as eHarmony). Sad to limit access to news for that reason.

  94. Hello, as a student going to a school in the Halton district school board, I strongly believe that the internet filter is unnecessary and a waste of money that can be used for more significant things. However, I understand why the majority of parents would agree on the internet filter; it can be terrifying to think that your children has the opportunity to expose themselves to inappropriate content. But, experiencing and being exposed to new things, plays a large part in the learning process. We need to learn how to be good digital citizens, which leads me to my first argument.

    My whole life, I have constantly been reminded from teachers, parents, and other people, that the five learning skills (responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, and self regulation) are extremely important and are necessary to develop if you want to live a successful life. If you put an internet filter, then the whole purpose of developing these learning skills would be defeated. How can we learn to be responsible and self regulate ourselves if we aren’t given a chance? We need to learn to refrain ourselves from searching up inappropriate content and use the technology responsibly. Of course, there are people that decide to use their technology incorrectly, but they will eventually face their consequences and learn from it. Also, if we have an internet filter throughout high school; what would happen after we graduate and become adults? We wouldn’t have the knowledge on how to be good digital citizens and would face even worst consequences.

    Another reason why I believe that the internet filter is pointless, is because adolescents these days are smart and can easily find their way around the filter; so the money spent would be a waste. There are over 73 million results on Google on getting around an internet filter, so if anyone can get around it, why spend 100 000 dollars? With the money, we can use it for technology, such as iPads, smartboards or anything else that can benefit our learning. Furthermore, since external networks on cell phones are not part of the filter, more people will be asking their parents for cell phones with expensive data plans. I don’t want to be spending my parents money just because I want to watch a YouTube video or update my Facebook.

    Lastly, today’s society is revolved around the internet and most students enjoy, and learn better using it. At the school I attend, the teachers often create videos and post them on YouTube so the class can access the lesson at home. This method has become extremely effective and not only helps, but motivates a lot of students to learn. For example, a lot of us participate in sports or clubs which can affect our attendance at school (due to tournaments and competitions); with the YouTube channel videos, we can access the lesson at home. Also, 65% of the student population are visual learners. YouTube is an excellent website to learn visually, so if students are restricted to YouTube, then 65% of the student population would experience more struggles learning and succeeding. Our school also communicates most of their announcements/messages on Twitter. Without Twitter, how would the school be able to communicate to their students?

    Nudity, and other inappropriate content can be found on almost every website (Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.). Yet these websites can be beneficial to our learning; so why take that away from us? Students need to learn how to create boundaries for themselves, and the money on the internet filter can be used towards better things. Therefore I, and most other students, strongly oppose to the internet filter. Thank you for allowing both students and parents to voice their opinion.

    — Student from Dr. Frank J Hayden

  95. Of course their should be a filter. I think too much time is wasted using computers in students 5-12 years old. Lets face it kids already use a computer too much at home. How about teaching our children handwriting. I can’t believe how many 10 year olds only know how to print their name! With a ratio in some class of over 30 students and only 1 teacher it would be impossible to monitor computer use. In grade 3 my son was at school looking up costumes at school and came across women “dressed up”. Children shouldn’t even be using computers in grade 3. How about putting a drama program back in place at public schools or field trips that involve hands on learning instead of zoning out in front of a screen.

    Courtney Thornton.

  96. If I may add to my previous comment.
    First off, I could care less what the lawyers say, I am tired of living our lives under threat of frivolous lawsuits, it has cost us tremendous amounts of money we don’t have and freedoms we never should have lost, it is not “society’s” responsibility to raise my child (whatever society is) it is the parents responsibility. The government takes money from the taxpayer to provide the opportunity for all children to get an education regardless of income so these children will have the tools to grow and become an independent, self supporting adult. I want the school to educate my child, not indoctrinate, to help them learn how to think but not necessarily control what they think. It is a fine line we walk but the Nanny state has gotten out of hand with things like this and zero tolerance. We keep removing our children’s rights to self determination, to develop their own minds so they can learn to logically assess the consequences of their own actions. We should teach our children the stove is hot, don’t touch it, we do not put locks on the stove even though it has the potential to be dangerous.
    Television has almost as much garbage and moral bankruptcy as the internet, the more you put these things under lock and key, the more it becomes a challenge for some to find out what the big deal is.
    Secondly……We do not have the money, this is not a matter of the $100,000 could be better spent, the taxpayers pockets are empty and like every other business out there we need to do more with less, and believe me there is a ton of wasted money in our educational system, that is not a knock on teachers, it is the reality of a broken fat cat bureaucracy that has lost touch with reality.
    We should be teaching our children how to deal with adversity, how to stand up for right and wrong, to not let others determine how they feel. I am so tired of the schools treating everyone like a victim, it trivializes true victims and creates a generation of self absorbed weak minded over sheltered children that are incapable of growing up.
    By the time your child reaches high school they had better be ready to self regulate, they now have the freedom and we have to trust they are going to use the stove without burning themselves.

  97. My family has discussed the issue and consider an internet filter as a form of censorship. Censorship of any materials in a liberal democratic society is at odds with the principles held within that society. It is incumbent on every member of society to be a part in educating children on the management of content on the web which also includes the members of our educational system. Federal and provincial laws are written that define criminal content and should be communicated and understood by our children. I understand that young children are most affected by inappropriate material housed on the web however draconian measures such as filtering should not be implemented as this incorrectly teaches future generations that “someone” is making decisions for them and that they should comply. The message should be one of warning and openness; warning our children that they may stumble upon content that they do not understand or find offensive and openness to express their concerns/questions to an adult representative within the society that will take the time to “teach” them the legal and societal values and how to apply them in specific situations. Each adult has an active role to play in our children’s education and this should not be passed onto another party to make the decision on what is appropriate. If we filter the content we miss the opportunity to talk to and teach our children. All this will help their development and make them better adults. Be reminded that we should try where possible to avoid mistakes and limit risks however we must remember that great leaning comes through mistakes and challenges.

  98. Our family votes NO to the Internet Filter Recommendation. Let us use this opportunity to educate not censor. Today’s students are tomorrow’s responsible adults. Let’s help them learn to make responsible decisions, not make them for them.

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  100. This issue has nothing to do with a parents responsibility. I would like to think that most parents are filtering internet at home in one way or another. This can be as simple as having a computer in a space in the house that can be viewed by all members of the family, or with actual filters. Now that the issue is simply – do you support the hdsb filtering porongraphy on school provided intenet – the issue is a no brainer. What kind of parent would say no to that??? Is the hdsb aware of the terms “make avaliable” the board is actually making pornography avaliable to children under the age of 18. Simply put, that is illegal. For all the believers in filters being a form of censorship and whatever other terms want to be thrown around “helicoptor parents” ect… What is your reason behind filtering pornography in school, simply porongraphy? This is NOT a teachable experience, nobody has the right to talk to someone else’s children about this topic, certainly not a teacher!

  101. Blocking pornography is a noble but unreachable goal. Attempting to block children from questionable content just diverts funds from the classroom and can and will be worked around. Research for yourself on the efficacy of firewalls in corporations.

    Our children would be better served by what some parents do at home when they can’t supervise: turn off ALL wifi. Or, let the net be accessed in public areas where content can be seen by all around if you must, otherwise leave it unfettered.

    If neither seem feasible to you, consider this an opportunity to discuss the inevitability that they will see pornography (on a phone at recess, more likely than in class). Give them the tools to help them cope with that reality instead of stripping already taxed budgets for a blocking system I assure you cannot block all port. Again, look up for yourself how easy it is to route around fences.

    Just as you don’t teach kids about fire by never letting them see one, don’t try to insulate our children from the greatest information source of the planet because there is questionable content.

    Give them the tools to become functional Adults, not just another way to pen them in and avoid teaching them responsibility. That’s what supervision and acceptable use policies are for.

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  103. Censoring the worlds largest source of information is comparable to burning books. It is a waste of opportunities for valuable learning, thrown away because we are afraid children may be traumatized by naked bodies.

    Teaching students proper skills for navigating the internet, and tapping into its well of information should be where money is spent, not on creating a way to impede it. Filtering is a knee-jerk reaction to a much more complicated issue of what should be viewed by each individual, and it should not be decided by one group for all.

    As a final note, I don’t think filters would stop people from accessing blocked sites. There are ways around a filter, and it is naive to think that the students couldn’t get around it.

    In conclusion, I believe the internet is a very useful tool in teaching students about both school, and life. Part of that learning requires students to make their own decisions, and not to be blinded from the real world.

    Keep the internet free.

  104. Pingback: Internet Filtering Feedback | Jennifer HLUSKO

  105. The restrictions towards wifi in schools, although ultimately designed to prevent issues, has only brought more up to students. Being a recent grade 12 graduate, I found that too often I would need to access a website for information and find it blocked.

    YouTube and Facebook specifically have become major sources for students to complete work and gather data. Without access to these sites, I found myself panicking too often while trying to print off notes or add videos to a presentation.

    The general idea of filtering what children have access to is a great one, however the internet filters in schools do not fully protect students from accessing these inappropriate sources. It would be much easier for me to access pornography on a school laptop then it would be to use facebook for actual work, despite the use of these filters.

    I personally think that the filter can be quite effective in stopping issues regarding students misusing internet, but I feel that it definitely needs major tweaking in order to be more effective than it currently is.

  106. As an employee and as a parent I feel that internet filtering doesn’t help either the students or the teachers. Putting limits on student access at school will not stop them from being exposed to the content we would be blocking. Children will find the content if they are looking for it and no amount of filtering is going to stop that.

    In elementary school how are they to learn the difference between good and bad sources if they are not able to search unimpeded? I am not saying give them free reign on the internet, I am suggesting TEACHING them to safeguard themselves and know the difference between a good search/source and a bad or inappropriate one.

    In a secondary school setting this can become even more of a problem as students try to do research for law, civics and other classes. Internet filtering would be not only impede their learning, in some cases it would become impossible. How do you search for sources about new prostitution laws if the word prostitution is filtered?

    How can stifling research and open inquiry help anyone in the long run?

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