9 On Your Side Education Watch
New obscenity law penalizes schools, libraries without strict internet filters
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – It is protection against what is inappropriate, obscene or pornographic: internet filters that schools and libraries must have in place to protect children from Internet sites. Starting the beginning of August, these public places will be penalized if they do not have strict enough filters.
House Bill 2712 details the types of material schools and libraries must block and the state can withhold 10 percent of funding if they don’t comply. They are required ot protect the children from harmful, obscene or pornographic material.
The Vail School District has strict internet guards for years and said they are already in compliance with this new law.
“We try to filter very thoughtfully high school students differently than elementary school students to reflect their developmental level and what we’d like to teach them,” said Matt Federoff, the Chief Information Officer for the Vail School District.
Federoff said they use a sophisticated system that costs about $30,000 annually, with different filters for different grade levels that restrict students’ access from school computers as well as take-home laptops.
“Technology is very sophisticated. We can filter down to individual students. Some students have more leeway than others. Students proven to be responsible can go places other students cannot,” Federoff. “We really try to be respect of the education process, always keeping in mind keeping our students safe.”
Meanwhile, the public libraries in Pima County also have internet controls in place and are already in compliance with the new law as well.
Losing 10 percent of funding would mean $10,000 for the Pima County Libraries – and millions of dollars for the Vail School District.
Schools and libraries are given a warning – they have 60 days to change their policies before the state can withhold funding.