Within the last six months there has been a noticeable increase of VPN usage within the student body in the Littleton Public School District. As a result, the school is more strictly enforcing the policy in place. Upon discovery of a student using a VPN, the district technology office will freeze Google accounts and shut off access to get on the network.
VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks. It is a technology that makes an encrypted “tunnel” in an existing network and connects a device (computer/phone) to an outside server.
“Students use it to bypass the filter in place. Think of it as keys to open doors. We give students certain keys to open doors but students using VPN essentially have a master key,” says Jo Andrews Technology Support Technician.
Schools block and filter websites for many reasons. Not only are they protecting the students, but they are also required by law.
“Public schools are bound by law to establish content filters between students and the World Wide Web. So students using VPN are putting school districts at risk of being out of compliance with The Children’s Internet Protection Act,” says Mike Porter Director of Technology.
Many students use VPN in order to access social media and other resources.
“I use VPN to access helpful websites that the school has blocked, and also to go on my social media when I have off hours,” says Cindiley Vargas ’19.
If there is ever a blocked resource that you believe is useful, talk to administration and avoid going through the hassle of getting blocked from the network.
“Let us know. There are billions of websites out there; if something is categorized incorrectly, and is good for students and teachers, we’d like to see that you get access to it,” says Mike Porter.
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