Federal law requires schools to protect students from inappropriate content. Schools have different standards on what to block, records show.
MOUNT HOLLY — Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are off-limits.
Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Hulu video are just fine.
At Rancocas Valley Regional High School, cybersecurity systems are set to block student access to social media but allow teens to stream music and video on classroom devices, according to records released after a legal appeal to the New Jersey Government Records Council.
Beginning Nov. 8, this news organization filed open records requests with all Burlington County school districts.
Four months later, on Jan. 10, district officials released the requested information while apologizing for the delay.
“I reviewed the District’s initial response which did not include all of the documents I advised them to produce,” said George M. Morris, attorney for the school district. “Not sure where there was a breakdown in communication.”
Public schools are required by federal law to protect students from inappropriate content.
The information released by area schools districts shows that they have different standards for filtering content, protecting students and staff as well as the equipment financed by taxpayers.
In October, Cherry Hill School District in Camden County discovered some of its computer systems had been locked down and some district computer screens displayed the word “Ryuk,” a term associated with ransomware attacks.
Rancocas Valley is home to some 2,100 students from Eastampton, Hainesport , Lumberton, Mount Holly and Westampton.
In addition to streaming audio and video, Rancocas Valley students are allowed to access shopping, news and media, sports and travel websites, records show. A long list of blocked content includes dating, gambling, pornographic materials, sex education, tobacco, “sports hunting” and “war games.”
So far, records were provided by Bordentown Regional, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Eastampton, Florence, Lenape Regional, Lumberton, Maple Shade, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, North Hanover, Palmyra, Riverside, Riverton, Shamong, Southampton, Springfield and Westampton.
Similar records requests are pending with Beverly City, Chesterfield, Edgewater Park, Evesham, Mansfield, the Northern Burlington County Regional School District and Willingboro schools.
Appeals have been filed with the New Jersey Government Records Council.
Under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, government agency must respond within seven days after receiving a request. Government agencies “must ordinarily grant immediate access to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts,” according to the records council.
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