Students should ask for help if they have problems with their Macbooks

Securly has created some challenges for students that can be resolved by asking administration


It’s obvious to anyone who has come to school in the last month that the district has invested in new MacBook Airs, and just about every teacher is trying to find ways to incorporate the Macs into their curriculum. While not having to fight for computers or having to deal with the incredibly slow login speeds of last year’s Dells has been nice, the Macs still have one major problem: Securly.

If you have not heard of Securly, it is the system on your MacBook that blocks you from searching for whatever you want. The mission that technology director Brandon Riffel lays out for Securly is to “protect kids from pornography, obscenity, and things that would be seen as harmful.” While Riffel and other administration members have acknowledged that Securly is not perfect, the best way to solve problems such as over restricting what students can search and download is to ask.

For example, Sohail Jouya’s debate classes have had problems downloading vital software for the class. After making the district aware of the problem and asking for permission, the software was approved and can now be downloaded on the computers.

Many of the problems with Securly can also be chalked up to a lack of student knowledge. Students have had problems with looking up material that is not inappropriate but still has keywords that Securly identifies as problematic. For example, Jeff Wieland’s AP US History class tried to search Thomas Hooker but were not allowed to because it has Hooker in it. Searches like Thomas Hooker are not blocked for high school students, but are blocked `because some students have not signed in meaning Securly treats them as elementary students who are more heavily restricted because of their age. 

Even though Securly may still have unnecessary restrictions such as George Walden’s Current Social Issues class not being able to look up certain articles about vaping and Ryan Johnston’s Physics class not being able to download Logger Pro, the best solution to the problem is to ask for a fix. While using things like VPNs may solve the problem in the short term, it will just lead to the district becoming even more restrictive. The best long term solution to these problems is to talk to teachers or administrators about problems to figure out a solution.

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