Access Denied


Leo Appleton

Mount Vernon High School’s Chromebooks and restricted web access are beginning to become a problem for many students. Between insanely slow loading times and every other site being blocked, something needs to change.

Before the 2020-2021 school year, restricted access to the internet wasn’t a big problem. However, after coming back from the long break of quarantine, students quickly found out that they couldn’t access many sites while using their school-issued Chromebooks.

While yes, it may be sensible to block access to websites that can get students off-topic like online video games, it is clear that the filters overreach in many places. For example, during my junior year, I was doing some research on an athlete for a Sports in American History project. When I found a source that looked promising, I clicked, only to see the big blue “RESTRICTED” message appear on my screen.

There was clearly nothing wrong or harmful about this site, yet I couldn’t access it due to the harsh parameters set on our students’ web access. However, this isn’t the only issue, a technology update is desperately needed as well. I think I can speak for all students when I say we are blessed to have access to Chromebooks for each and every student, but I could also speak for everyone when I say that the speed of these things are awful.

During a Spanish class this year, students were assigned to open their Chromebooks and access the online textbook to read an article. The teacher said she would allow 5 minutes to read the short article. Seems reasonable right? Well, when the allotted time had expired, my Chromebook was still struggling to load the page. 

While we are very fortunate to have easy access to technology and the internet at Mount Vernon High School, something needs to be changed. These slow loading times and very restrictive internet filters aren’t allowing students to access information that they may need to use for an assignment or class. 

One solution I would recommend to fix the slow loading speeds of our Chromebooks is to upgrade to something just slightly newer or more expensive. It is no question that these laptops are becoming outdated and an upgrade would certainly help solve the problem.

In my opinion, the filters that block students’ access to many sites should be removed completely. Instead, the school should manually block certain websites that may be dangerous or distracting to students. While this may be a tedious task, it would offer a better browsing experience and allow students to access sites that they may need to use for an assignment.

No matter what the solution is, I hope that it comes soon.