Firewalls in need of updates


One of the most fundamental things we are granted is quick access to technology that helps us to learn and succeed in the classroom.

It is a rare privilege to have multiple, fully functioning computer labs on a high school campus. However, with this fantastic upside comes a downside. A large amount of the issues that arise from our technology on campus can be traced to the internet firewalls that have been installed within the network.

The firewalls seek to provide a safety net for us as students and deter us from getting off track. For example, many of the sites turned off on campus such as Netflix are blocked due to their need to use a lot of the bandwidth on campus. With this being said, the firewalls do some good as well.

These firewalls are painstakingly installed and updated by our technology department in order to keep those of us who would much rather be checking our fantasy football team or checking our Reddit feed than listening to a lecture when we are in class. When I am working on an assignment on campus, there is something oddly comforting about occasionally seeing a small message in the bottom right corner of my screen that lets me know precisely when Twitter or Instagram has been blocked on my computer. Because Lord knows, when I am desperately trying to finish an assignment, I will not have the mental fortitude and will power to resist scrolling through a random person’s pictures from dinner last night.

What I am trying to say is, we are not all as easily distracted as one might assume. Taking into account all of the good and not so good things our firewall system does here on campus, they are not all they are cracked up to be. There are some very specific things blocked on campus that probably should not be such as the school calendar. While this issue had been rectified after many complaints, the over-arching theme remains.

This problem, however, comes with a solution. If you find a specific website or application that you feel deserves some attention, it can be presented to the technology department for review.

Another large misconception about our firewalls is the theory that they are somehow responsible for the slow start up times in our tablets. The majority of the things that pop up on your tablet screen have absolutely nothing to do with the firewalls on campus. These notices have more to do with the Group Policy, which does such things as mapping your tablet to printers and placing the StudentPlus icon on your screen.

While this system seeks to help us, it is not only annoying but it is also incredibly time-consuming, and it ends up taking away from time that I need to be using to focus. The firewalls are intended to help us, not hurt us.


Dominic Vela is a member of the National Honor Society, a National Hispanic Scholar, Colombian Squire, Senior Leader, anchor, writer, producer, and play-by-play analyst for the Eagle Broadcast Network, sound engineer for STH Drama, and a senior at St. Thomas. He also happens to be the reigning Editor in Chief of The Eagle. In other words, he never has enough going on.