School removes specific special features from students

Returning students noticed that the district blocked the dropdowns


Josephine Wilcox

Dropdowns no more: Students at LSHS face struggles with the restrictions on the school-administered Chromebooks. Last school year, students started to notice certain things including the “People also ask” feature, the Google games and more were blocked from the school’s Chromebooks while on school wifi. “I did find that some of the dropdowns could be pretty useful. They reworded my question or whatnot slightly differently,” junior Gabriel Alyor said.

The dropdowns on Google should be made available again for the students of Lake Stevens High School because it gives students another resource when it comes to school work. Making it easier to find information and complete research assignments for specific classes. Students weren’t informed ahead of time, so they did not understand why the change was made.

“The “People Also Asked” feature of Google does not appear on student Google accounts because they depend on certain code that we have blocked from student accounts.  The particular coding is blocked because there are certain kinds of websites that depend on the same code that we don’t want students to visit,” Mike Weatherbie the Director of Educational Technology and Assessment said.

“I don’t believe what is shared in those dropdowns is necessarily exposing students to questionable content, however, the other sites that use the same JavaScript that we are blocking most definitely can,” Weatherbie said. 

Students quickly found some work to be more of a nuisance without access to the dropdowns. Sometimes students work branches out of the acquainted time slot of a school period. It causes unnecessary stress for students that already have enough on their plate. Many students have jobs or sports after school and tend to fall behind if they don’t get their work done in the exact time frame. Some teachers flat-out refuse to take late work, which causes grades to fall and students to lose interest. The dropdown makes work so much easier. It restates the questions in different words and reveals more information than originally attended. Which, brings new ideas to the initial information. 

“It’s made me start to have to put in a lot more time to find answers to simple questions, which sometimes can be kind of hard for a student-athlete like myself because I don’t really have the most time like either directly after school or after sports to do a whole bunch of work. So when I have to take, like, at least like easily 20 to 30 more minutes with an assignment, it’s kind of hard for myself,” senior Tiernan Perkins said.

Depending on the class or assignment, schoolwork should take around 20 to 30 minutes. However, with the restrictions on the school’s Chromebooks, it could take an hour or more to complete simple assignments. The students of LSHS find the restrictions bothersome and pointless. It affects their ability to do work. As well as making it much more time-consuming. Google made the tool to make things easier for its consumers. While yes, one can just “find a way around the restrictions” many people don’t have the time nor the patience to do so. School already takes up eight hours of a student’s day. Having restrictions on simple things that don’t affect the school in itself.

“It would be so much easier if the restrictions were gone. I’d be able to do my research assignments without having to go out of my way to find the information that should be easily found right there at the claim,” senior Destiny King said.

 Many teachers have started a no phones allowed policy in their classrooms this school year. Yet they assign assignments that require particular bits of information. When students can’t find certain things right away on their Chromebooks they tend to move toward the mobile they have access to. Said device can give them whatever they want in milliseconds. By using their phones they get yelled at. 

“I often use my phone to search up questions since usually, I can find just more direct answers to what I need to know so yeah, I do. There have been times when I’ve been yelled at because I’ve been on my phone trying to look stuff up that I can’t on my school Chromebook,” Perkins said. 

King can definitely relate. 

“Oh 100% I will pull out my Chromebook and have what I need to write on there but I will have my phone or my Surface Pro or something else that can connect to Google. Tell me what I need to know instead of dealing with the drama of dealing with the blocked dropdowns,” King said.

In this situation, one of our resources doesn’t work completely – and then when we are trying to use our personal resources that provide more access, we get in trouble for being on our phones, which seems……

With the school holding back the students from all their available resources, they should either ease up on the phone restrictions or just give us back the abilities that were originally available to us. It eases stress with school and lets us finish work much faster. The feature itself was made for a reason. 

Associate Principal Josh Roehl admits that he would have probably needed to be a bit annoyed to discover the feature had been removed.

“But, the one thing I’ve learned about computers and all things internet is that there’s always a workaround, and just taking the time to figure out what that is, is what would annoy me,” Roehl said. 

The teachers and administration don’t have to deal with the frustrations as a result of limited access and features, so why should the students? We are high school students, some of us adults, why are we still being treated like middle schoolers instead of being given access to tools that we will have in the workplace and in later schooling?