Dad Mad at Daughter's School, Says It Needs to Protect Websites Better

CHAMPAIGN - A father is upset with Unit 4 Schools and his daughter after she bypassed the school's firewall and got a Facebook account.  He said he doesn't allow his children on the social media site ,and said she was using it to have inappropriate conversations with boys during school.

Jimmy Lacy's eighth grader was able to crack the filter program at Jefferson Middle School and get on Facebook.  He said  met with the principal and that the school is investigating what happened.  He said he supports the consequences the school hands down and that his daughter has to learn.

"At first as a father you don't want to believe, you think someone else done it then you come to realize that's your baby girl," explained Lacy.  "I think it's the school's responsibility to make sure they have the right firewalls to protect our kids."

Lacy said he and his wife are very strict with what their children watch and do.  He said they're not allowed to have a cell phone or go to certain websites. 

He said his daughter confessed to setting up an account in the school computer lab.  Lacy  found out after his wife's iPod went missing on Monday.  They realized their daughter had it and was using it for Facebook. Lacy said she and other students are breaking the fire wall on school computers and on the Wi-Fi on their own devices.

"She would have inappropriate conversations setting up times to meet boys in the bathroom to do inappropriate things her and her friends," said Lacy.  "Being a father having my daughter accessing Facebook when they're not supposed to be at school, it hurts and I'm real angry right now, I'm frustrated with the school right now I feel like they let me down.

The district has a Student Code of Conduct that outlines the regulations for electronic devices and Internet use.

"We do have security in place, it blocks sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the safety and protection of our students is important to us." explained Unit 4 Schools Community Relations Coordinator, Lynn Peisker.  "When students are determined to get around it, they're very savvy in the way they can do that and so we have also policies in place that are pretty explicit to students in terms of what is except able use."

The guidelines allow all students to carry a phone, but depending on the grade level depends on how they can use it.  Students in High School are allowed to use phones, mp3 players, iPods, etc in the hall way during passing times and during lunch.  Middle and elementary school students have to turn them completely off.

The district said using a proxy website to bypass the District content filters is also a violation.  Students and parents are expected to sign and turn in an agreement at the beginning of the year.

Champaign Schools said there are nearly 35,000 attempts to break the network in terms of hacking and that about 700 spam emails are sent during the day.

It said it's continuously working to better the system in effort to continue to keep students safe.

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