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School officials cautiously unblock some Internet sites

A new content filter put into place by CNS, the city-owned cable and Internet service, has made it possible for Grady County schools to customize what Internet sites are blocked and the ones that are not.
Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis briefed the members of the Grady County Board of Education on the changes Tuesday night.
“In the past we had a systemwide tech committee which determined what was blocked and not blocked. Certain categories of sites are blocked regardless,” Dr. Pharis explained.
With the capability of the new filter the sites to be blocked can be customized by individual schools so now tech committees from each of the schools have been formed to determine what sites to block and not block, according to Dr. Pharis.
“This is a big improvement by CNS. What might be an appropriate site for the high school may be inappropriate for an elementary school,” Dr. Pharis said.
Assistant Superintendent Martha Fowler and Technology Director Chris Guest have been meeting with the individual school committees to go over the customized site selections.
“We are not talking about opening up Facebook and other social media. That is distraction enough already. However, it is very frustrating to a science teacher who has a good site to pull research from only for it to be blocked. Hopefully, this will help prevent such occurrences. We are being very careful in this process,” the superintendent stated.

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