Business

'Opt in' or 'opt out' of Internet?

"The Central Kitsap School Board Wednesday discussed a proposed new Internet policy that, if passed, would go into effect for the 2000-2001 school year.The policy would allow students to opt out of Internet use rather than opt in with approval from their parents. The district's current opt in Internet policy requires a student to obtain a signed note from a parent to go online at school.Human growth and development - aka sex education - and HIV/AIDS education are other opt out programs from which students can be excused if their parents sign a note to the school district. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Steve Chappuis said the proposed policy would give students better access to the Web by sidestepping paperwork. He said some students would be cut off from library resources if their parents forgot to sign them on for Internet access. Chappuis said it would save time, too - instead of adding each student with Internet approval into a database, staff could put them all in and remove those who opt out.It still maintains parent control, it just reverses the order a little bit, Chappuis said.Some at Wednesday's meeting worried the new policy would be overlooked by parents overwhelmed by an avalanche of paper in the first couple weeks of school.Carrie Riplinger, a library assistant at Seabeck Elementary, said the policy will take more power away from parents when it comes to the Internet.I want to ensure the district does everything in its power to protect kids, Riplinger said.Riplinger said schools already have a hard time monitoring what students look at on the Internet.The proposed Internet policy, like the present policy, includes prohibitions on what students could view on school computers. Anything viewed on computers that does not relate to a student assignment is grounds for loss of Internet privileges.A public comment period will be held at the board's May 28 meeting, before the board votes on the new policy.If the policy passes, the only curriculum that would remain opt in, requiring a parent's signature to participate, would be the viewing of R rated movies."

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