Student Technology Trends, Web Filtering and Online Safety

Today's youth are digital natives, immersed in a world of constant contact, immediate information, and potential pitfalls that accompany technology. Knowing the current trends and practices of your children's online activity is imperative to assisting your child to stay safe online. Understanding responsible use and consequential actions based on digital decisions is a challenge that requires guidance. As a district, we want to help provide you links to highly informative resources, links to articles about current youth tech trends, and an understanding of what we put in place as a district to help provide a safe technology environment.

Student Use of District Information Technology

The Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook outlines the board-approved policies related to Student Use of District Information Technology. You can view the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (2013-14) here. Please view Policy JICJ (beginning on page 28) Student Use of District Information Technology, JICJ-R Student Use of District Information Technology, and JIHA Student Possession and Use Of Portable Electronic Devices (including Cellular Phones). 

District Network Web Content Filtering

All website traffic on the district network, including both wired and wireless access, passes through an enterprise-level content filtering system. The content filter uses both a centralized database of websites maintained by the content filter vendor, and a locally-managed blocked site list. The vendor database covers millions of sites and is updated in real-time; sites are typically categorized and blocked/allowed based on how the filter's automatic algorithms detect the content of a site. In addition, when questionable web content is accessed and reported (via a Web Help Desk ticket or phone call from district staff), IT staff initially block the site and resubmit the URL of the site for recategorization by our vendor. These requests are human reviewed by the vendor, then added to their URL database accordingly, and a notification is provided to DCSD staff when the recategorization request is complete. 

In addition, our filter enforces Google, Bing and Yahoo search engine traffic to use Safe Search functionality, including image searching. Browser visits to search engines on the district network will have the search engine preference for safe-searching defaulted to ON. When users attempt to disable the preference in an attempt to circumvent the option, the filter will automatically enable the preference back to ON. This allows an extra layer of enforcement to prevent adult and explicit content from being searched on these search engines. When questionable content is encountered (which does occasionally occur due to the challenges of filtering and automatic identification of images), our expectation is that a teachable moment has occured during which an educator can express the importance of reporting inappropriate content encounters.

As no web filter is 100% accurate, we rely on the responsiveness of our staff and students to report access to questionable content, as well as adherence to the expectations set forth in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

RESOURCES
Google SafeSearch Objectionable Content Reporting Tool

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.