OLNEY, Ill. (WTHI) - High school students in Olney, Ill. took to the streets Friday morning to call for changes in federal regulations that govern internet access in schools.
The students, who are part of a college-level English course, said filtering software mandated by the Federal Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) keeps them from accessing online research material related to controversial topics.
"A friend of mine tried to write a research paper about gun control, was repetitively blocked by the filtering system," said student Trevor Perrott. "Another friend of mine was trying to write a report on the changing religious aspect of the United States and was blocked repetitively."
Perrott and other students said they believe the 13-year-old CIPA needs to be clarified and improved.
Those who work with education technology explain that the law itself is meant to address serious concerns about inappropriate or harmful online materials. Jim Johnson, who works with technology at ISU's Bayh College of Education, said he often helps schools adjust their filtering software to accommodate legitimate student research.
"No software is perfect. It has to be tweaked a lot," Johnson said. "I spent a lot of time tweaking ours with input from teachers, the librarians … the principals and superintendents."
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