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Ogilvy slams Govt’s loaded gun schools Net policy

Ogilvy slams Govt’s ‘loaded gun’ schools Net policy

The Government is handing a loaded gun to school children when it delivers unrestricted Internet technology without backing it up with funding for firewalls and other controls to protect young eyes and to deter deviant teachers, United Future’s Bernie Ogilvy said today.

“The Government’s responsibility doesn’t end when a PC arrives in a box at the school gates - but clearly the Government and the Education Ministry think it does,” Mr Ogilvy, United Future’s education spokesman, said.

Parliamentary questions from Mr Ogilvy revealed that there is absolutely no monitoring of computers, no firewalls and no audits - spot or regular - by which parents and schools can be assured that computer porn and other unsuitable material or sites are not being accessed.

“And as it stands, there is no centralised system for reporting incidents,” he said.

Too often the incidents that have come to light have been uncovered by accident or by computer technicians fixing problems, he said.

“And really that is far too haphazard a way to treat the protection of school children.”

Mr Ogilvy said the usual Government response putting the burden on to school boards of trustees was a cop-out.

“They are already over-burdened and under-financed.

“Where are the boards supposed to find the money for firewalls? The schools operations grants can’t sustain half-baked scheme after half-baked scheme,” he said.

"If Mr Mallard is going to front up with the money for the ‘Laptops for Teachers’ scheme - some 16,700 at last count - then he must take responsibility for what turns up on those computers.

“The fact is that we have absolutely no idea of the prevalence of porn on school computers - and that is simply not good enough,” Mr Ogilvy said.

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