Search engines shutdown

As the 2009-2010 school year commences, teachers have started handing out various projects that require internet research. However, some students may come across a small problem. All search engines except and have been blocked.

According to the Francis Howell District Internet Usage Policy, the Board of Education realizes that students need access to the internet and require the skills needed to use the internet. It also states that “[the internet] also offer[s] persons with illegal or unethical motives avenues for reaching students, teachers, parents/guardians and members of the community.”

This policy is constantly changing what sites are being blocked and banned in the district. For instance, sites like Facebook and MySpace have always been blocked.

However, this is the first time that the district has blocked major search engines like and

“Those sites have some feature that can work around our filters and blocks, so [the board] decided to block the sites and make Google the default in the whole district,” said FHC’s internet technician Mike Georg.

After making this decision, the board sent out e-mails to inform the staff.

“We put out the email notice with the intent to alert staff of the change and to receive any input into the ramifications of making this change.  To that end, we have received information on some additional search engines like Grokker, Sweet Search and Iboggie that we will research and, if safe, will allow for District use,” said FHSD’s Chief Information Officer Ray Eernisse.

Whatever the reason, if a student wants to search for something on the internet, and are going to be their only resource now.