Lee's Summit second-grader exposed to porn at school - FOX Carolina 21

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Lee's Summit second-grader exposed to porn at school

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LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

The parents of a second-grader are upset that she was exposed to porn and other inappropriate comment through a computer given to her by the Lee's Summit School District.

"I couldn't be more shocked," said Kris Mojica. "This content was there on my 8-year-old's laptop that the school hands her."

He said he saw two naked girls having sex in one of the videos, saying he considers what he saw "hard-core pornography."

The district has shut down most access to YouTube.com after he and his wife complained that their daughter had been exposed to porn and other inappropriate content. Other children at Meadow Lane Elementary School also saw adult content through their district-issued Chrome books.

The district has told the parents of the second grader that it was about 10 students, but the Mojicas believe the problem was more widespread than that. The parents also believe district officials in denial about how big of an issue that they have with computers issued to children.

Assistant Superintendent Kate Collier said the district regrets the mishap.

"We have expressed to the family that we are certainly sorry that they or any children were exposed to that content that would be inappropriate for children during the school day," Collier said.

The district says the inappropriate content was seen in late January and early February. The Mojicas say they alerted an assistant principal on Feb. 2, while the district says the conversation took place Feb. 3.

An investigation was launched and as a result access to the entire site was shut down the afternoon of Feb. 3 according to the Lee's Summit School District.

The district had allowed access to YouTube For Schools. District officials said they had a filter in place to block access to the regular site.

"Through the investigation, technology department staff members determined that our district's internet filtering did not catch a recent update to the regular YouTube website, allowing all YouTube content to be accessible for a short period," the district said in a statement.

Typically the YouTube school channel is available just on student devices.

"In this instance, (Lee's Summit district) staff members believe a recent firmware upgrade on the appliance, which manages the district's filter was flawed and caused full access to YouTube to open late last week," the district said.

Mojica kept his daughter out of school last week, but planned to return her to class this week. And then he realized that the district had blocked YouTube but his daughter and students could still access graphic content through a simple search on their web browser. He said he found images of people being hanged, swastikas and other content simply by typing in "white powder."

He said he shudders to think what else is available.

"You got a lion in a cage. The last thing you want to do is just hand an 8-year-old (the key) and just kind of see what happens," Mojica said. "And that's what they are doing. They're handing my daughter a web browser to put in whatever happens to blow through her mind."

His wife said that their daughter has had part of her childhood innocence taken away from her.

"Bottom line, if it's not educational, it does not belong in school," the father said.

District officials said a "few" other students were exposed to the inappropriate content, and administrators are working with the parents of those children.

But the couple believes their daughter viewed the video before Christmas. They said the filter has been off for weeks, and the district has refused to acknowledge it.

District officials refused to address whether the videos were pornographic. District spokeswoman Janice Phelan repeatedly said Wednesday that it was "inappropriate content."

Teachers continue to have "controlled access" to YouTube for Schools via their teacher computer devices, Phelan said.

She said the district is working to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"District staff members are continuing to work with senior engineers from the vendor of the content filter to address this situation and to prevent it from happening in the future," the district's statement said.

Meadow Lane parents interviewed by KCTV5 on Wednesday said they were stunned to hear about the issue, and were disappointed that the district didn't alert them to the problem.

Mojica said the district needs to do more and address a serious issue. He said young elementary school children should not need web browsers that provide access to anything but internal educational content.

"This whole thing is extremely wrong," he said. "Our education process (shouldn't) involve me having to explain lesbian activity to my 8 year old."

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This is the district's entire statement:

"Lee's Summit R-7 School District officials were contacted by the parent of an elementary student about a potential problem with the district's Internet filtering on Feb. 3. The district's Technology Department immediately began an investigation regarding this situation and made the recommendation to close all access to YouTube for Schools (YouTube EDU) with this access shut down by the afternoon of Feb. 3. Through the investigation, Technology Department staff members determined that our district's Internet filtering did not catch a recent update to the regular YouTube website, allowing all YouTube content to be accessible for a short period. Normally, only YouTube for Schools is available on student devices. In this instance, R-7 staff members believe a recent firmware upgrade on the appliance which manages the district's filter was flawed and caused full access to You Tube to open late last week. Teachers continue to have controlled access to YouTube for Schools via their teacher computer devices for instructional purposes. Administration at the elementary school where the inappropriate access was reported have been working with parents of the few children who were able to access these websites."The R-7 School District has a CIPA (Children's Internet and Protection Act) compliant content filter in place as required by law and by the district's Board of Education policy. YouTube for Schools has been the only YouTube option open for elementary students. Through the district's filtering procedures, the full YouTube website should not have been available. District staff members are continuing to work with senior engineers from the vendor of the content filter to address this situation and to prevent from happening in the future."Here's additional information regarding our district's content filtering and monitoring from Board policy EHB:

"Content Filtering and Monitoring"The district will monitor the online activities of minors and operate a technology protection measure (“content filter”) on the network and all district technology with Internet access, as required by law. In accordance with law, the content filter will be used to protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene or harmful to minors or are child pornography. Content filters are not foolproof, and the district cannot guarantee that users will never be able to access offensive materials using district equipment. Evading or disabling, or attempting to evade or disable, a content filter installed by the district is prohibited."The superintendent, designee or the district's technology administrator may fully or partially disable the district's content filter to enable access for an adult for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. In making decisions to fully or partially disable the district's content filter, the administrator shall consider whether the use will serve a legitimate educational purpose or otherwise benefit the district."

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