Third-grade girl distributed pornography to classmates

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

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LAKE STEVENS, Wash. - A Lake Stevens third-grade girl was able to circumvent the school's Internet filtering software and distribute pornography to classmates.
 
Sunnycrest Elementary released a statement saying all the images will be blocked and the girl was "appropriately" disciplined.
 
The district blames the incident on a change in software that hadn't been updated.

The following note was sent to parents:
 
"Dear Sunnycrest Elementary School families,

"We're writing to notify you about an extremely unfortunate situation that occurred at Sunnycrest. During class, a third-grade student searched for, and was able to access explicit sexual images on a district computer. She then shared those images with several of her classmates. Appropriate disciplinary action was taken.

"Typically, images of this nature would be blocked by our filtering software. Lake Stevens School District subscribes to a filtering software that blocks certain "classifications" for all users, including: pornography; gambling; obscenities; adult content; hate/violence; and URL shorteners. In this instance, the images were searchable and visible due to a change in the search engine that had not been updated by the filtering software company.

"Once staff members became aware of the situation, Information Technology technicians were immediately notified and all student computer use at Sunnycrest is suspended until our investigation is complete. Additionally, the filter is being tested on a district-wide basis to ensure that all students are protected from explicit content.

"To ensure that all images have been removed, our technicians have deleted content from all Sunnycrest third-grade students' computer accounts. In addition, all students will be once again reminded about digital citizenship and the importance of notifying an adult right away when encountering inappropriate content.

"We are sincerely sorry that this happened. The use of technology and the Internet are integral tools in the education of students, but nothing overrides the importance of your child's safety while at Sunnycrest. "

The following is a statement from the district:
 
"This is an extremely unfortunate situation and we are sincerely sorry that it happened. No student, especially third-graders, should have access to explicit content. The images were searchable and visible due to a change in the search engine that had not been updated by the filtering software company. As soon as we became aware of the situation we suspended student computer use at Sunnycrest until our investigation is complete. The filter is being tested on a district-wide basis to ensure that all students are protected from explicit content. Thousands of students and staff members safely access the Internet from schools and district offices each day, and the use of technology is an integral tool in education. We are working to ensure that this will not happen again."

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