Gilbert parents upset over school-issued laptops

Posted at 5:15 AM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 07:15:12-05

The Gilbert School District is ready to hand out 9,000 more Chromebook laptops to students next year, but some parents say a major glitch needs to be fixed before that happens complaining it's too easy to access porn on the computers.

April Pinger says there have been a number of incidents in her friends' homes as well as their kids' classrooms.

She says one little boy accidentally accessed a pornography site while doing a research assignment in his fifth grade class.

"Following a teacher's instructions and a porn site came up, he was just so mortified," Pinger said.

The district says it's been combating the problem for months.

"With the internet changing the way it does and the amount of information out there, that's always going to be a concern," said the district's Executive Director of Technology Steve Smith.

He says they've taken action to prevent inappropriate content:

  • Creating a digital citizenship working group to review issues and strategize corrective plans.
  • Teaching web safety in classrooms starting in elementary school.
  • Blocking google images and other search engines.
  • Adding filter settings to Chromebooks.

At a school board meeting Tuesday night several parents spoke out to let board members know the filters aren't always working and students are able to find loopholes.

Pinger had several suggestions to improve:

  • Prevent internet access from personal web servers.
  • Only allow web access on campus intranet.
  • Only allow pre-approved websites. Create a "white list" instead of trying to blacklist an endless stream of updating internet sites.

The school district says it will continue to update its strategy.