Triad school districts re-evaluate internet policies following abductions

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — Two teenage girls talking to men they met online using their school issued computers has raised concerns.

Fortunately for their families, their abductions ended with the girls being located.

These cases have opened new questions about how secure children’s devices really are.

Even though these situations happened in Davidson County, they’re not isolated to these schools. It’s something school leaders are aware of and has prompted state leaders to take action to secure the school-issued devices in people’s homes.

“Is anything foolproof? No, it’s not,” Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons said.

Even the best school security filters can miss something. Davidson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lipe told FOX8, “there are so many inappropriate websites in existence, we must be made aware before we can block them.”

The district plans to review its online safety protocols and will see if any changes need to be made.

A spokesperson for the Guilford County school district says the IT department is often monitoring what students are doing on their school-issued laptops and as they learn of new apps and websites that can pass through the filters, they actively work to block them.

The Alamance-Burlington School System echoes Simmons in saying that no security system is perfect and that the district offers programs to teach responsible and healthy internet use.

In Randolph County, the sheriff’s office is actively working with Randolph County Schools and Asheboro City Schools to spread the message about internet safety following the incidents in Davidson County.

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, a spokesperson said school staff occasionally holds info sessions for parents on internet safety.

All school districts are required to follow security measures outlined through the Child Internet Protection Act. A spokesperson for the state department of public instruction said state leaders are discussing what happened in Davidson County and are pushing for more funding for cybersecurity to support schools.

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