GHS Press

Restricted Mode Stalls GHS

Wesley Short

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Recently here at GHS, there has been a slight uproar about the enabling of “Restricted Mode” on the website YouTube through the Tazewell County Public Schools internet network. It was enabled for over 2 weeks, but has recently been deactivated. Many were wondering what caused the feature to be activated, and what happened to have it reversed. What do the students think of this? Who authorized this feature to be enabled? What effect did it have on our school? Will this ever happen again? So many answers to be found and so many wrongs to be righted.

When students and teachers came to school one morning, they found many of their favorite videos on YouTube locked away from them. An unpleasant frowning face displayed where a video should be playing. Many teachers and students resorted to other means of accessing material that they needed for classes. Some just had to suck it up and go on without it. What started it all? Shellie Hartley, who works with ITRT (Instructional Technology Resource Teachers) in the Bluefield area, claims it was a simple matter of internet safety. “It was something that came along with keeping hackers from accessing student information. It’s a constant battle.” She claims it may happen again due to this. However, restricted mode was disabled again. What caused this? “We had a meeting, and we just expressed our concerns that teachers are coming to us and saying, ‘We can’t do this.’ So many websites and videos were blocked, and they’ve been using it and using it, then all of a sudden it’s gone.”

Several students voiced their concerns, as did I. I myself started a petition to disable the feature. I had over one hundred signatures by the time it was finally disabled (not to brag, I promise). Every person I asked signed the petition, and these students weren’t all my friends. Many of them I had no association with whatsoever. It was simply a common goal that myself and nearly every student here shared. Many of my conversations with them went something like this:

“Is this real?” The person I’d ask would say.

“Of course.” I’d say.

“You know that it probably won’t go through, right?” They’d ask.

I’d chuckle. “If that’s the case, they (the TCPS board) aren’t doing their job.”


They’d sign it. Why wouldn’t they? This restriction has only hindered all the students and the staff here. The feature is so flawed that material could still come through that is obscene or graphic, and material that clearly isn’t is blocked. It says so on the YouTube website: “No filter is 100% accurate, but it should help you avoid most inappropriate content.” I enabled restricted mode for a bit, just to see if I could still access anything even slightly inappropriate. The famous Nirvana song, “Rape Me”, is still available to listen to. There was a video available that even warned its viewers that there was obscene and offensive language in it. Meanwhile, several informative videos about politics, news stations, history and other videos (which I know do not contain any inappropriate material) were blocked. It’s extremely counterproductive.

Hopefully this won’t happen again, although, Shellie Hartley warned it could happen in the future if another internet safety issue comes up. If someone who is a part of our school board or ITRT is reading this, don’t let it happen again.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The student news site of Graham High School
Restricted Mode Stalls GHS