• Post category:News
By NATALIE HEARD HACKETT
February 27, 2021 at 9:00 AM
 
Montclair Parents Raise Privacy Concerns As District Plans Expansion of Computer Monitoring
 

MONTCLAIR, NJ – This week, as the Montclair Public School District announced the https://www.tapinto.net/towns/montclair/sections/education/articles/montclair-parents-raise-privacy-concerns-as-district-plans-expansion-of-computer-monitoringimplementation of a remote instruction monitoring program, parents began to raise concerns over privacy.

The district announced the implementation of GoGuardian, which is a tool designed to enhance a teacher’s ability to manage a remote classroom. Through the tools, teachers are able to control the screen of students, monitor activity, as well as observe what websites students are visiting. 

Though being used in other districts, Montclair parents were concerned over the district’s awareness of browser history, website visits, among other things, while their children use the devices. They began sending emails to the superintendent, who responded in his latest newsletter to parents.

On the implementation, Superintendent Jonathan Ponds described the tool as a means to keep students safe online. He mentioned that it was already in use, in pilot form and that the district is preparing a district-wide rollout, once staff has been trained. He added that only when using a chromebook or logged into the school district domain, will staff be able to monitor students’ activity.

He wrote in his latest newsletter, the following:

To help keep our children safe online, the district is in the process of adopting online services provided by GoGuardian. Please be advised that this has not been a districtwide initiative. We have piloted this in several technology classrooms and have recently conducted a training for our high school teachers.

Additional training sessions and communications will be forthcoming. First and foremost, GoGuardian is only in effect when students are logged in on a district Chromebook or other device while ONLY using the school’s domain the MPSDNJ.US account. Go Guardian cannot access personal devices and files. When students are signed into a Chromebook or Chrome browser using an @MPSDNJ.US account on any device, teachers can close tabs for students, send messages to students, and lock students’ screens. Messages between a teacher and student on GoGuardian are logged. Students can only message the teacher, not other students.

We will communicate more about this service to all stakeholders before it becomes a districtwidevinitiative and get feedback and comments from our families. It may be helpful to know that 10,000 other schools, including our neighbors Millburn, Livingston, So. Orange Maplewood, and Orange, use GoGuardian.