Miss. students still accessing ‘pornography, discuss illegal activity’ on state-issued devices, auditor says

School districts are complying with the minimum legal standards, but those minimum standards are not enough to guarantee student safety, the auditor said.
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 12:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State Auditor Shad White’s office released a follow-up cybersecurity report Thursday about the access Mississippi students have to potentially harmful and explicit materials online.

The first report in 2017 tested the reliability of the security controls districts have on state-issued devices that students take home.

White’s office tested 18 schools within 9 randomly selected school districts.

Twenty percent of the devices showed evidence that students were able to access explicit material on school-issued devices. The original report also showed that the district’s filtering systems were not effective when filtering inappropriate material.

The newest report shows that the majority of school districts fail to follow through on their written internet policies with effective monitoring of students’ online activities.

White’s office also says the increase in funding allowing for more technology will cause the issue to “continue to worsen.”

“The bottom line from this report is that many school districts comply with the minimum legal standards, but those minimum standards are not enough to guarantee student safety. We still see students able to access pornography, discuss illegal activity, and plan self-harm using state-issued devices,” said Auditor White.

About 94% of the school districts surveyed did show that they adopted internet safety policies. However, the auditors’ office says only 19% of districts were able to show those policies were in place when the devices were off the property.

However, the Petal School District reported success in using a supplementary monitoring system. It tracks keystrokes by students on school computers, including when those devices are taken home.

See the full report here.

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