Restricted WiFi or Restricted Education?

A major part of most student’s lives and entertainment involves the internet, and it’s very easily accessible at a techincal academy like WCTA. Being able to bring our own devices and use laptops and phones during class is a privilege. However, the wifi restrictions on campus cause many complaints and conflicts between teachers and students.

“Just the amount of indecent things that are on the internet” is the main reason for restricted wifi, which blocks certain content on the internet is, said Mr. Brain, West Tech’s librarian.

Mr. Hrisca, the tech support teacher, said the administration filters things depending on what they feel is appropriate for students to see.

Students generally agree on this purpose, as students will be more focused and on task during school.

“My personal opinion on the blocked wifi is that it is understandable. Yes, I am upset that there isn’t access to social media and certain games that I used to distract myself with, but it probably forces me to do my work more.”

But the fact that certain inappropriate connect is blocked is reasonable, as some things are not relevant to school and should be left for at home, said Karina Kneeland, grade 10, when asked about her personal opinion on the wifi. Her opinion reflects the majority of the students’ opinion.

Although generally everyone agrees on the benefits of having distractions and inappropriate content blocked, one major and commonly spoken drawback is on how the wifi blocks some sites that are useful to school. All schools in the CCSD have restricted wifi, but especially for technical academies like WCTA, this can affect our classroom experience.

“It blocks things that can be used for school purposes (like YouTube), and applications that do not deem a threat to students,” says Janelle Ferraris, grade 10. Some teachers and clubs at WCTA have social media accounts for students to follow and interact with.

Mr. Steve, who maintains the school’s internet and computer systems says if it were all up to him, he’d let each school choose what they want to add and subtract for sites, instead of going through the process of submitting a request for access to the CCSD administration.

Both teachers and students agree the restrictions are beneficial, with some drawbacks, however students bring up the topic of whether the testification actually help.

“I think the restrictions make no difference and should be removed because there are so many ways to get around it and there is no need for it,” Vincent Bellon, grade 9 said.

Students claim there’s no point in blocking it, and although it would be useful, with the way students get around it, such as using data or downloading certain applications, the restrictions are useless.

So if students can use their phones with no restriction, what is the point of blocked wifi? “That comes back to the parents having to monitor the students personal devices, so there's always ways around it but we have to monitor what we are in charge of,” says Mr. Brain. “It comes to that it's either filtered or nonfiltered and it's hard to say that being unfiltered is going to advance a student's educational career.”

Overall, students and teachers both agree the restrictions are for the better, which a few exceptions. But students see it as useless when they can outsmart the wifi, but teachers see it as being responsible for what they can be.

Photo Credit: Jasel Layson

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