Among the technology changes faced by the SLVHS community over the last several years, the implementation of a system of school email accounts was one of the most controversial. Everyone has been concerned about their school emails. The truth is, these accounts were made to teach students how to communicate effectively, and to help them learn how to be safe on the internet.
As a learning tool provided by Google Apps for Education, students have to be school appropriate — a list of 117 curse words is programmed into the slvusd.org system. If an email is sent with with one of these words, it is automatically sent to the principal. So, students don’t have that much privacy. When interviewed, many students were surprised about their lack of privacy. “I’m really shocked and disappointed. I thought there was a little more of a curtain,” said freshman Katie Lozier. “Definitely, I was really hoping that there was a little bit of freedom,” Xander Krikke, freshman, agreed. “Not surprised at all,” senior Alissa Saylor commented.
Our grades and school records are confidential, but our emails, because they are a learning tool, are not. In addition to the profanities list, teachers can access our email accounts. At any time of the day, a teacher could be looking at the documents in your google drive or viewing your email. That’s a little bit scary! But these aren’t personal email accounts. Most students would increase the amount of privacy, a little bit uncomfortable with the true visibility of our teachers. All were in agreement that the cyberbullying prevention aspect of the emails was beneficial. “I think that these emails are good for student communication,” said freshman Kaelynn Gregory.
Teachers have access to our emails because they are used as learning tools, and they are legally obligated to monitor them by state law. The emails are archived and sorted on a server, so deleting one from an account won’t completely erase it. In fact, the act of deleting an email doesn’t affect the archiving at all. “I thought that the archiving of our emails was a little freaky,” mentioned Tilia Lundberg, freshman. This is useful because it helps with finding
who might be cyberbullies or victims of cyberbullying. Not only does it assist staff in identifying at-risk students, it ensures student safety. The school email account were designed to be a balanced learning tool, though many still feel differently.
By: Eilidh MacDonald