A computer displays the Clarke County School District home page in a Clarke Central High School classroom on April 10. CCSD changed Wi-Fi networks from “CCSD Net” to “ClarkeSchools-Secure”, and the CCHS administrators will not be giving students the new Wi-Fi password, which will change every month. “Everybody I know that is on the school Wi-Fi has a (Virtual Private Network) or something. Apparently, it lets you bypass the firewall of an internet browser, and lets you get on practically anything as if you’re on your own Wi-Fi. I don’t think that’s safe because, it’s illegal, first of all, but I don’t think it’s smart to be on the school Wi-Fi if you’re on the VPN doing lord knows what,” senior Brevin Brown said. “So I think that (keeping the password hidden is) for the betterment of the students.” Photo by Johanna Hall.
By JOHANNA HALL – ODTV Executive Producer
The Clarke County School District’s county-wide WiFi network “CCSD Net” has been replaced with “ClarkeSchools-Secure” in order to free up the formerly crowded network.
The Clarke County School District recently changed its county-wide Wi-Fi network from CCSD Net to “ClarkeSchools-Secure”. According to CCSD Network Administrator Chris Call, the “ClarkeSchools-Secure” network is actually the same network as “CCSD Net”, but with a new name and new restrictions. The reason for the change stemmed from overcrowding of the network due to student devices.
“The main motivation (for the new network) is just for security and for us to be able to make changes in the future. Using that old network, with all those devices that were relying on it, we couldn’t do anything and had our hands tied and couldn’t make any changes,” Call said.
However, this new network’s restrictions are different from “CCSD Net”, where there was one password that anyone could use to access it. Now, the “ClarkeSchools-Secure” network’s password will change each month, and individual schools can decide whether or not to provide students with the passwords.
“We are letting the schools decide whether or not they want students to be on the network because some students can handle using their phones at appropriate times, but some can’t handle that, and that becomes a classroom issue,” Call said. “We did have some schools that wanted to take advantage of that because some of the kids were abusing (the Wi-Fi) or getting off track during class sessions.”
Clarke Central High School administrators will not be providing students with the Wi-Fi password. CCHS senior Brevin Brown hears students complain about the newly exclusive Wi-Fi, but understands why the district decided to to this.
“If you want to be on the Wi-Fi, you might as well just use your computer and do what you need to do. I think that’s also the reason why the computers are automatically connected to the Wi-Fi and your phone’s not, because on the computer, you actually have to do your work instead of goof off and play games. So, I think that it’s for the betterment of the students,” Brown said.
So far, Call says the benefits of the new network have not been obvious, but he believes the improvements from “CCSD Net” will be evident in the future.
“Initially, I don’t think there has been any change at all, but once we start changing the password every month, we’re hoping the schools that decide to withhold that information from students will see better classroom experiences,” Call said.