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House approves bill requiring school districts to file Internet policies

House approves bill requiring school districts to file Internet policies

Dustin Hurst
March 12, 2010
Dustin Hurst
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March 12, 2010

The Idaho House voted unanimously Friday to approve legislation that sponsors say is designed to shield students from pornographic and explicit material.

School districts would be required to develop safe Internet usage policies that protect students from offensive and pornographic websites, and would be required to receive approval of the policy by the local school board.  Though the legislation does not dictate a statewide policies for districts to follow, it does offer some guidelines for policy development.  Districts must install filtering and blocking software on computers to prevent students from accessing questionable pages, and must also develop penalties for students who do access offensive or pornographic material.  Districts would also be tasked with developing and maintaining some element of Internet safety training as a component of computer education.  The legislation mandates that districts shall update the policy every five years.

On the House floor Friday, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg, said that 27 states have statewide Internet usage policies for students, but Idaho does not.  According to his research, approximately half of all school districts in Idaho have formal Internet policies, though he noted that all school computers have some form of filtering technology.

The measure how heads to the Senate.

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