It’s time to block FISD’s blocker system


Isabella Santiago

Guest contributor Zachary Moland discusses his take on the FISD online blocking system.

Zachary Moland, Guest Contributor

High school students have plenty of reasons to be stressed. Balancing ever-increasing workloads with extracurricular activities as well as the perils of everyday life is never easy. These reasons seem even less manageable when they have headaches. And one of the biggest head-scratchers for Frisco ISD students is FISD’s online blocker system.

According to campus digital learning coach Nicole Lotz, the purpose of the system is to “ensure students are following the Responsible Use Policy, which effectively means that they are solely using their district-issued devices for educational purposes, and being responsible while doing so.”

You’ll notice that Lotz stresses “educational purposes.” And in high school, that mostly (though not completely) means research–lots of it. But there’s a problem: Students will find that plenty of research sites are blocked or filtered to the point of unhelpfulness. And that’s just your normal, everyday database website; due to the blocking system, it can be rage-inducingly hard to find information on specialized topics that might not be found on the big websites. 

Then there’s the case of blogs and forums. These literally are their own category on the blocking system. Admittedly, there’s some reasoning behind this, as blogs and forums can be written about literally anything, so unfettered access would be risky. However, they tend to be great data sources (or at least excellent reads), so not having access to them because of a handful of sketchy ones is a huge disappointment. FISD should instead block only sketchy forums and blogs because of their content, not their format.

It should be evident by now that the FISD blocking system is in need of revisions and a partial takedown. Again, it should never be completely removed, but in this case, a little bit would go a long way.