Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Saturday, August 18, 2018 12:43 pm
Sept. 28, 2016

MCPS places restrictions on school WiFi

by Neva Taylor, Entertainment Editor
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) restricted WiFi in schools so that students can no longer access social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat, starting this 2016-2017 school year.

Students' misuse of phones has been a problem over the past years for MCPS. Students have easy access to distracting games and apps on their phones. To get around this issue, MCPS has tried to integrate phones into the classroom, so that they are used for academic purposes only. This new WiFi restriction is to further the idea that phones in the classroom are only for learning.

Students, however, have found ways around this new rule, by using an app called Virtual Private Network (VPN). This free app connects phones to an outside source and then to a local WiFi,which privatizes and secures networks.
Blazers can not access Instagram with new MCPS wifi restrictions. Leah Phillips
Blazers can not access Instagram with new MCPS wifi restrictions.

According to Gizmodo, big companies use VPNs for security reasons. The service makes sure that the company's network can't be blocked or hacked.

Junior Darian Price who has the app likes it because it gets him around the wifi restrictions easily and it's free. "There are rumors though that it could hack your personal info, but I don't believe it. Everyone has it," he said. Many Blazers have the app and do not worry about hacks or viruses.

Other students use their own cellular data to get around the restrictions so that don't have to log into the school WiFi. Instead, they use their own personal data, which can be expensive. "It's really extra, and the money racks up after a while," junior Grace Hoggarth said.

Student reactions have been negative towards the new WiFi rules. The ban is "ridiculous and rude" according to sophomore Claudia Young. Junior Isabel Fenton, who agrees with Young, and the restrictions are unnecessary. "The WiFi barely works as it is, and now they are forcing us to use our data, which is racking up our bills. I assume parents are not happy about that," she said.

Students also believe that the new is interfering with their free time in between classes and at lunch. "We are allowed to use our phones in the hallways and during lunch and now we don't have WiFi. We should be allowed to have social media when we are allowed to have our phones out," junior Margot Bloch said.

Many Blazers do not think it is an effective way to get students focused, and believe the restrictions are unnecessary and unhelpful. "MCPS needs a better way to get us engaged in the classroom," Fenton said.

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  • Pete (View Email) on September 28, 2016 at 9:42 PM
    This article contains many glaring errors. Quite embarrassing for an online publication with the credibility of Silver Chips Online. The editors of this publication need to step up their game.
  • MORRIS (View Email) on September 29, 2016 at 12:06 AM
    use phones in class? why not give the kids guns so they can commit suicide faster? using phones in school is nothing short of child abuse. stop this insanity, you are drones informed by this perverted culture and should not be educating our kids. Perhaps working on death row would be more appropriate work for you.
  • Hi2u (View Email) on October 6, 2016 at 8:11 AM
    I need wifi, its a really spirtual experience using it while other people using it its like yoru filling each others minds you know?
  • Helen (View Email) on October 9, 2016 at 3:55 PM
    The article has so many technological inaccuracies. The most obvious error is in describing the term VPN, which is most definitely not an app.
  • Cole Greenberg (View Email) on January 9, 2017 at 8:27 AM
    ....NEED WIFI NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Raymond (View Email) on January 17, 2018 at 8:09 AM
    We have WiFi in school. Pupils can use their own devices or school chrome books. The pupils are super engaged and their learning is relevant to them and covers a huge breadth and depth of the subjects we're studying - more than textbooks or teachers. I guess your mileage may vary on this but it works a treat for us.
    Raymond Bennet,
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