School board blocks TikTok

On Jan. 9, the Moore County Board of Education discussed internet access during its work session and, later that same day, decided to block TikTok from school-issued devices and networks.

There is a graduated level of Wi-Fi network access.

“The Moore County Schools (MCS) network has multiple Internet/website access tiers set up based on grade levels for students and positions for employees,” said MCS Interim Director for Communications Charlie Batchelor in an email to Sandhills Sentinel. “For students, there is a tier for Kindergarten through fifth grade, a tier for sixth through eighth grade, and a tier for ninth through twelfth grade. Administrators have the ability to restrict the tier level for students as needed.”

Students using school issued-devices cannot access social media apps, and students and those connected to the schools’ guest Wi-Fi network cannot access social media.

According to Batchelor, Sandhills Community College enrolled students within the school district have limited access to Facebook and Instagram.

School Board Chair Robert Levy said Congress eliminated TikTok and ByteDance, Ltd from its government computers, and there are concerns the Chinese government uses personal identification information.

“Students were unable to access the TikTok application prior to December 30, 2022 and since that date all access to TikTok is blocked for any user or device utilizing the MCS network, for students at school or at home on MCS devices, and for staff utilizing the MCS network from school or home,” said Batchelor. “Staff have been informed to delete any TikTok app from any MCS device and are prohibited from downloading it in the future.”

In other matters, Levy introduced reasons to use closed-circuit cameras in classrooms. The reasons are establishing behavior, reviewing instructors’ performances, and allowing students to review lectures.

“Every preschool I have been associated with have cameras,” Levy said. “I don’t think there is an expectation of privacy.”

Closed-circuit camera video would be available to administrators, law enforcement, and staff but not the public.

Board member Stacy Caldwell said she was inundated with teachers’ responses about the camera idea.

“We don’t have the infrastructure to keep the memory,” Caldwell said.

“It would take significant expense and staffing,” Eklund said.

Board member David Hensley said the police initially rebuked body cameras and now are the biggest supporters.

Caldwell said it would be interesting to know the expense of a camera plan, but she thinks there are more important things to look at right now.

Levy referred the camera idea to the budget and facilities committees.

To learn about the other topics discussed at the Jan.9  school board meeting, click here.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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