Girard schools lift Vindy.com ban


GIRARD —   Girard School District pupils can once again view The Vindicator’s online news content, after school officials lifted a week-long ban on their viewing of the web site during school hours.

Schools Superintendent Joseph Jeswald on Tuesday said officials decided to lift the ban because they wanted pupils to have access to news content available on the site.

The Vindy.com web site was put into the school’s filtering system on Jan. 8. This system filters out undesirable sites — making them inaccessible to those using school computers.

Jeswald, at the time of the ban, said he had no problem with pupils reading the newspaper. He said reading the newspaper is in fact encouraged and used as a part of some classroom instruction.

The superintendent explained that the ban was put in place after school officials received several calls about postings by Girard pupils on Vindy.com during class time. He said school computer personnel investigated the claims before banning the site.

School officials, Jeswald said, were concerned that more pupils might be blogging, reading and participating in discussions on the site’s message boards — something he contends should not be done during class time.

He said officials are still concerned about pupils posting on the message boards, but are going to leave regulation of student web site use up to teachers in each classroom.

“This is not a censorship issue. Kids were sitting in class and need to be working on classroom assignments,” he said.

Jeswald said there are penalties ranging from a detention to more severe punishment for pupils who violate the school’s acceptable use policy for the Internet. He said a student’s use of the Vindy.com site or any other Internet use would have to be looked at on an individual basis to determine if that policy has been violated.

“Every school has an acceptable use policy. It is a judgment call as to what is a violation of that policy,” he said. “This has not been a problem in our school district. Our kids do what they are supposed to do most of the time and I don’t think there will be a problem in the future.”

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