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What Can Livermore High School See on Our Google Accounts?

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Patrick Connolly  | Staff Writer

Riley Johanson  | Opinions Editor

Livermore High School students are not completely aware of how the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) monitors our school Google accounts. When you sign into your Google Drive or Gmail using your LVJUSD email, you are reminded that your account is “managed” by LVJUSD, but what exactly does that mean? We spoke to Vice Principal Erik Taylor about just how much the school district sees on our Google accounts.

“As soon as you log into a district computer you’re being monitored,” Taylor said. The reality is that the LVJUSD has full access to information on your Google account. But, they will only check your account if it is part of an investigation

When we asked if he or the district does regular checks on our Google accounts, Taylor’s response was, “I don’t, because, why would I check your account? What’s the point? I don’t have a reason to.” You do not have to worry about the LVJUSD or LHS administrators looking through your account if you are not doing anything inappropriate.

So, how does the LVJUSD find out that there is inappropriate information on your Google account? Taylor said, “There is a filter for words that are used in Google in a variety of places, like search or in apps that make a ping at the district level and then they let us know, the administrators.” The district does not stalk any one’s account, because it would be nearly impossible look through thousands of accounts.

The LVJUSD uses iBoss, a network security company, to block certain websites, protect against malware, and to enforce the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) guidelines. The CIPA of 2000 says that schools are responsible for blocking any inappropriate content from minors, and the school must teach students how to be responsible on the internet.As Taylor said, there is no point in constantly monitoring the accounts because the majority of students at LHS do not behave inappropriately on district accounts.

“[Only] a handful of kids, in my experience as an administrator for five years have chosen to do inappropriate things with district equipment,” he said.

When we asked what the punishment is for having out of line content on a Google account, he told us it varies from case to case. Some kids will get a firm talking to, and others have gotten suspended. Stated Taylor, “Every situation that comes up, I want it to be a learning experience so that the behavior doesn’t happen again.”

When we asked students at LHS what they think of the district having access to our Google accounts while on school computers or laptops, their answers were very similar to one another. Shaanth Nanguneri (grade 9) said, “I think it’s kind of weird, but it’s for safety so I understand.”

Ximena Pulido (grade 9) explained her stance on the issue as well,  “I’m kind of in the middle because they’re owned by the district but I still kind of want privacy on the Chromebooks, you know.”

Although some students may be uneasy with the thought of the school monitoring their online activity, there is very little that can be done to resolve the issue because LHS students sign a contract when they create the account allowing the district to monitor their accounts. This contract gives the school districts the ability to see all your data on the account including search history on the internet.

Students should be aware of the fact that the district can see online activity and will punish students if necessary, but also realize that the district does not have the time to “stalk” or constantly monitor Google accounts. As long as you are not displaying unbecoming behavior or endangering other students, there should be no need to worry about school administrators checking in on you. If you are worried about the school district monitoring you, the best option is to sign off of the computer or use a personal account instead.

Header Credit: Pixabay

2 Comments

2 Responses to “What Can Livermore High School See on Our Google Accounts?”

  1. Sandi Murugavel on November 13th, 2017 8:28 pm

    I found this article informative and interesting to read! I have always wondered how LVJUSD monitors our school google accounts; prior to reading this article, I thought that the district merely controlled students’ website access, but I did not know that students were additionally monitored by a word search filter. I am personally fine with the district having access to our google accounts, although I think it is crucial that every student has knowledge of how they are monitored. Overall, I agree that the district should monitor LHS student’s internet usage at school as it teaches students how to be responsible and use credible resources for research projects.

    [Reply]

  2. Alyssa fuller on November 17th, 2017 9:28 am

    I️ thought this article was super interesting!! I️ know as a student that I’ve always wondered how much the admin could really see on computer accounts. I️ think this article is helpful because it informs you on the topic and provides actual pieces from interviews to help support the topic.

    [Reply]

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