Students Displeased With New Laptop Restrictions

The head of the IT department at Bangor High elaborates on his decision to put new restrictions on the school-owned computers.

The+IT+department+distributes%2C+maintains%2C+and+collects+student-issued+laptops+at+the+end+of+the+Lower+A+hallway.

The IT department distributes, maintains, and collects student-issued laptops at the end of the Lower A hallway.

Adrianna Faulkner, Reporter

BANGOR–New limitations have been put in place on the school-owned computers, and students don’t seem to be loving it.

Those who use the school-issued Chromebooks are now no longer able to sign in to their personal email accounts. This also means that students are not able to use YouTube, which many agree can be used for educational reasons, but is mostly used for personal entertainment.

“The policy has always been that [the laptops] are for school use only,” according to Mr. Stanchfield, the head of the IT department at Bangor High. The new restrictions are just another measure to make sure students stay on task and are not using their laptops for anything not school-related. But that’s not all. “I did several security-related [changes],” Stanchfield added, “if you were to punch in your password on another account, Google will now check to see if it’s a leaked password, like if hackers have it, essentially” 

When asked if he thought students should be able to listen to music, and specifically about Spotify, Stanchfield reported, “Personally, I don’t care. The issue has always been ‘how can we make it work in class?’ I know earbuds are not allowed, and that’s an administrative decision.” While Spotify works for some, many experience blank loading screens when they try to listen to music. Now unable to listen to music via Spotify and YouTube, students are turning to other sites such as Pandora, which many agree is an inferior music streaming service.

Many gaming and social media sites have been blocked since the introduction of laptops. The IT head says this is because of the web filters that are used that detect the purpose of a website, and if its purpose is for games, the site gets blocked. However, students could get onto YouTube simply by signing into another account. Because students are not allowed to do this now, however, YouTube has become inaccessible to those with a school-owned laptop.

Those who own their laptops are still able to access YouTube and other apps because they are able to sign into their personal accounts. Students who use the school-owned laptops have more restrictions on them than those who use their own laptops. “Is it unfair in my opinion? A little bit,” Stanchfield reflected, when asked if it is unfair to students who may not be able to afford their own computer. He elaborated on this, saying, “We have discussed it, and that’s a decision where administration has decided that they can bring their own devices, and if we were to ever change that…it would make it more equal. It’s kind of the way it is right now.”

Students in recent years are able to access mobile games and YouTube via their cell phones, which has become easier since the introduction of 5G. However, Bangor High is a large, cement building whose walls do not give much leeway to students hoping to get more than a bar of signal.