Parent Finds Porn on Student's School Laptop

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - In January, students at Surfside Middle School were given Chrome Books as part of Bay District School's one-to-one program, but recently one parent made a disturbing discovery of pornography on her child's laptop.

She's extremely upset about the situation because she said the school told her and other parents, multiple times, that their kids would be safe using these devices. Inappropriate websites are supposed to be blocked by the district's firewall no matter if the student is using the laptop at school or at home.

"You took the innocence away from our children," said Ieshia Sparks, Parent of Surfside Student.

Sparks found that her 12-year-old daughter was accessing pornographic material on her laptop.

"I found the website on an index card underneath the couch along with this journal that they've been passing around," said Sparks.

The Bay District Schools firewall system searches for keywords that could be inappropriate, but after only having the laptops for one month, the students found a way around that.

"The website used numbers and a letter and not necessarily a word," said Tamra Hogue, Media Services Supervisor, Bay District Schools.

According to Hogue, this website was more of a search engine portal.

"The students, you know, they're very tech savvy. They knew what keywords to put in, where to click and where to go to access the inappropriate content," said Hogue.

Sparks said she had to go to the school and talk to the principal face to face before anyone believed her.

"The principal looked at me when I'm standing in their office and she tells me, 'I assure you, you cannot get on it.' I opened up that Chrome Book, got on it and I said, 'What is this?'" said Sparks.

The school district has since blocked the website and also sent out an Iris alert to parents warning them of the incident and reminding them to always keep an eye on their children.

The district said before the students receive a Chrome Book, they and their parents have to agree to a contract, which said "Parents are responsible for monitoring their student's use... even if the student is accessing the BDS system from home or a remote location."

"We do have sites that slip through. We do our best to, you know, filter and we do our due diligence with our filtering systems, but you know, there's not a filtering system that's 100%," said Hogue

However, this parent believes if it's not 100% safe, it's not ok to give to students.

"I think that the Chrome Book was a bad idea. It's like you're giving the kids the gates of hell. Saying, 'here you go' and now my daughter knows things that she never knew before," said Sparks.

We're not going to name the website, but we can tell you it was one letter and then three numbers ending in dot net. Pay close attention to what sites your children are using on all devices.

Jinks Middle School is the other school where students received laptops and the district is encouraging those parents to be aware as well.


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