I.T. Department blocks Wi-Fi on students’ devices
Does Freedom’s newest restriction go too far?
Assistant Editorial Editor
It is a well-known fact that high school is much different from the three years of awkwardness that precedes it. In middle school, being caught with a cell phone during class was a surefire way to anger teachers. However, in 2017, cell phones play an essential role in the success of a high school student. Using mobile Internet apps for schoolwork is just one example of this.
The rise of personal devices has caused problems for the Information Technology (I.T.) Department at Freedom High School. As the amount of devices connecting to the wireless internet network called BASDNet increases, the efficiency of the network in FHS suffered. Seeing this, Mrs. Marie Bachman and the rest of the I.T. Department made the decision to temporarily block students’ devices from connecting to the district’s network.
“We experienced issues with excess traffic going out to the internet. It exceeded our bandwidth limitation,” said Bachman.
While the decision to block the network seems very reasonable, it may actually create more problems than it solves. Involved students need cell phone service at school. They must be able to inform their parents about ever-changing plans and other events that come up without notice. For those without reliable data plans, struggling to fix cell service at school should not be a top priority.
Additionally, the overall efficiency of Freedom High School’s computers has not improved significantly since personal devices were blocked from joining the network. It is still quite a task to log onto the internet on a Chromebook and wait for pages to load. This temporary blockage to get the internet under control must have further experimentations, and the I.T. Department is exploring different options.
“We are working on alternatives, but most of them involve equipment replacement. That is a very expensive process,” Mrs. Bachman said.
Rather than blocking cell phones from the network entirely, it would make the most sense to block sites like Snapchat or Instagram. These sites are less useful than Google or text messaging. While this is an unpopular decision among students, blocking sites that interfere with internet traffic is a solid start to fixing Freedom’s technological issues. However, a more realistic plan is needed to finish the job.
Caption: Error messages like this one are common when students attempt to connect to BASDNet.
(Screenshot: Carson Swick)