Upstate school district monitoring students’ Internet use

Spartanburg District 5 watching kids surf the web at school and home
Spartanburg District 5 watching kids surf the web at school and home

SPARTANBURG Co., SC (WSPA) — An Upstate school district will be watching your kids surf the web from home.

Spartanburg School District 5 officials will be able to monitor students’ use of district issued laptops even when they’re surfing from home.

Melissa Robinette, a spokesperson for the school district, said officials think it’s important for students to have access to technology.

This is the third year that students are able to take home school-issued laptops, and the first year parents can “unblock” certain sites while the child is using the device at home. Parents also get a weekly email informing them of the students Internet activity.

Certain sites are blocked on school grounds. If students search certain flagged words like depression or suicide, Sam Vezina the Districts I.T. Specialist is notified immediately.

“I look at what’s blocked, what’s flagged, I look and see what they’ve done, pass it on to the principal and they deal with it from there,” Vezina  said.

Making information readily available raises the question of privacy, but it’s a price that concerned parents like Meghan Smith say they’re willing to pay.

“We need all the help we can get. Parenting is hard enough, it’s a brave new world and I think if the district wants to support parents in that, it’s a good plan,” Smith said.

“If it’s on a school issued device I think it kind of comes with the territory, you’re waving a little bit of that privacy,” she said.