February 2021: Dr. Bob Sokolowski reads the January suppressed public comment of Ms. Shannon Givler, mother of a (then) 4th Grader at Hillsdale Elementary.
August 2021: Dr. Bob Sokolowski has yet to address the fact there are out-of-the-box factory standard features from Apple that the district – or any parent – could invoke on any or ALL of the approximately 6,000 iPads in circulation in our community (link here); but does recommend a UNIVERSAL MASK MANDATE for all teachers, students and staff regardless of their vaccination status.
And to be clear. The masking status reflected in the communication above is not determined by anyone but the West Chester Area School District. They, and they alone, decided when to enforce masking. Not the State of Pennsylvania. Not the Chester County Health Department.
So let me ask you a question….
What is more dangerous to our students Grades K-5… unrestricted access to explicit internet content (including pornography)? Or COVID-19 when our 7-Day Percent Positivity is no where close to 5%?
Because right now…despite that parents have brought this to their attention repeatedly since September 2020…it takes at least 5 clicks to get to the following Apple article that explains in a few easy steps how to protect our children. Every day. All day.
And the district did not take the time to 1) enable the controls; 2) alert parents to enable the controls; or 3) do anything after multiple families reported their concerns.
Instead they have doubled down on the fact that they meet the “requirements” for internet safety when their primary control for content filtering only works when these devices are used on the district network. Which means in a school building. Not in your home, not in your neighbor’s home, not a learning center, and not anywhere except in a district building. So while our children used these iPads at home since March 2020 there has not been a single attempt to make parents aware of this fact. I suspect because the district did not realize it, and their failure to course correct or acknowledge it since – which they do know, because why else post the Apple article under “Parent Resources” – means they care more about perpetuating an illusion of “safety” rather than admit their mistake.
Because as of today, August 12th, 2021, the West Chester Area School District cares more about their reputation, than they do about protecting our children from inappropriate internet content.