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Renton School District

Internet Filtering

RTCC Members discussing web filtering

Technology Services operates within the guidelines set by various policies and laws. Internet access provided by the district is run through an internet filter that will attempt to block various content.

Which sites are configured to be blocked or allowed are based on decisions of the Renton Technology Coordinating Council (RTCC).

Blocking and Filtering Policy

According to Board Policy 2022 and 2022p, filtering software is used to block or filter access to visual depictions that are obscene including child pornography in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Filtering is also used to block content that is not consistent with the mission of the district:

  • Filtering software is not 100% effective. While filters make it more difficult for objectionable material to be received or accessed, filters are not a solution in themselves. Users must take responsibility for their own use of technology resources and the internet and avoid objectionable sites;
  • When staff become aware of internet abuse, they must report this abuse to their supervisors and to Technology Services.  Staff who fail to report may be subject to disciplinary action;
  • Any attempts to defeat or bypass the district’s internet filter or conceal internet activities are prohibited.  Proxies, https, special ports, modifications to district browser settings and any other techniques designed to evade filtering or enable the publication of inappropriate content are also prohibited;
  • Email inconsistent with the educational and research mission of the district will be considered SPAM and should be blocked from entering the district email system;
  • The district will provide appropriate adult supervision of internet use. Controlling access by minors to inappropriate material on the internet is the responsibility of the adults and requires deliberate and consistent monitoring of student access to district computers by the teachers supervising the students;
  • Staff members who supervise students, control technology resources or have occasion to observe student use of said resources, must make a reasonable effort to monitor the use of these resources to assure that student use conforms to the mission and goals of the district;
  • Staff must make a reasonable effort to become familiar with the technology resources and the internet to monitor, instruct and assist effectively.

Understanding Filtering Rules

Websites are initially filtered based on 100+ general categories such as advertising, entertainment, news/media, adult content, custom allowed, and custom blocked.  These are called OpenDNS Categories.

Which categories are blocked defines the filtering rules for each user group.  In RSD there are three user groups:

  • Generic Users - Unauthenticated Users
  • Elementary School Students and Middle School Students
  • High School Students and Staff

Filtering rules are district-wide and are not established by or for a specific building or program.  The Current RSD Internet Filter Policy for Categories is a list that shows which categories are blocked / allowed for each user group. In addition, this list shows which websites outside of these categories have been blocked / allowed for each user group.

Allowed/Blocked Content by Grade Band

Category Description provided by Open ONS GR 9-12  
GR P-8   Generic 
Academic Fraud Promote educational fraud, i.e. plagarism and cheating Blocked Blocked Blocked
Adult Themes Adult in nature and are not in other categories Allowed Allowed Blocked
Adware Advertising banners Blocked Blocked Blocked
Alcohol Sites about alcohol use, commercial and otherwise Blocked Blocked Blocked
Online comics, cartoons and graphic novels Allowed Allowed Blocked
Auctions Sites for buying and selling via auction Allowed Blocked Blocked
Automotive Manufacturers, news, reviews and hobbyist information Allowed Allowed Blocked
Blogs Personal or group journals, diaries or publications Allowed Allowed Blocked
Business Services Corporations and businesses of all sizes Allowed Allowed Blocked
Chat Real-time chat, including IRC and video chat Allowed Blocked Blocked
Classifieds Buying and selling (or bartering) goods and services Allowed Blocked Blocked
Dating Sites for meeting other people Blocked Blocked Blocked
Drugs Sites about illegal or recreational drug use Allowed Blocked Blocked
Ecommerce/Shopping Sites that are online stores for products and services Allowed Allowed Blocked
Educational Institutions Sites for schools, covering all age levels and types Allowed Allowed Allowed
File Storage Space for hosting, sharing and backup of digital files Allowed Allowed Blocked
Financial Institutions Banks, brokerages, trusts and other financial organizations Allowed Allowed Blocked
Forums/Message Boards Discussion, bulletin boards, message boards and forums Allowed Blocked Blocked
Gambling Gambling or information about gambling Blocked Blocked Blocked
Games Game play and information (news, tips, cheat codes) Allowed Allowed Blocked
Government Government agencies, including .mil domains Allowed Allowed Allowed
Hate/Discrimination Sites that promote intolerance based on group identities Allowed Blocked Blocked
Health and Fitness Information about health and fitness Allowed Allowed Blocked
Humor Sites that are intended to be funny or humorous Allowed Allowed Blocked
Instant Messaging Access to software to communicate in real-time Allowed Blocked Blocked
Jobs/Employment Job listings, resume services, interview coaching Allowed Allowed Allowed
Lingerie/Bikini Lingerie/bikini sites considered adult-only Blocked Blocked Blocked
Movies Movie promotions or movie watching online Allowed Blocked Blocked
Music Music, including news, band and fan information Allowed Blocked Blocked
News/Media News and information, including newspapers and broadcasters Allowed Allowed Blocked
Non-Profits Non-profit or charity organizations and services Allowed Allowed Allowed
Nudity Sites that provide images or representations of nudity Blocked Blocked Blocked
P2P/File sharing Digital File sharing, peer-to-peer software, torrent sites Blocked Blocked Blocked
Parked Domains Placeholders "parked" for future use Blocked Blocked Blocked
Podcasts Both audio and video podcasts are included Allowed Allowed Blocked
Politics Politics, politicians, political parties and organizations Allowed Allowed Allowed
Pornography Soft pornography or hard-core pornography Blocked Blocked Blocked
Portals Gateways to internet, including bundled services Allowed Allowed Allowed
Proxy/Anonymizer Allows anonymous net surfing and email sending Blocked Blocked Blocked
Radio Online radio listening or promote radio stations Allowed Blocked Blocked
Religious Religious teachings and groups, and spirituality Allowed Allowed Blocked
Research/Reference Research-related resources:  encyclopedias, dictionaries Allowed Allowed Allowed
Search Engine Sites that offer result listings based on keywords Allowed Allowed Allowed
Sexuality Images and information: bondage, sadism, masochism Blocked Blocked Blocked
Social Networking Promote interaction and networking between people Allowed Blocked Blocked
Software/Technology Computing, cloud computing, hardware and technology Allowed Allowed Allowed
Sports Professional and amateur, news and schedules Allowed Allowed Blocked
Tasteless Mutilation, torture, Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Suicide sites Blocked Blocked Blocked
Television TV show promotion and television watching online Allowed Blocked Blocked
Tobacco  Tobacco use and related products Allowed Blocked Blocked
Travel Travel information and services, reservations Allowed Allowed Blocked
URL Shortener Converts a regular URL into a condensed format Allowed Allowed Allowed
Video Sharing Sites for sharing video content Allowed Allowed Blocked
Visual Search Engine Sites for searching for images based on keywords Allowed Allowed Blocked
Weapons Sites about weapons, commercial and otherwise Blocked Blocked Blocked
Web Spam Redirect targets containing unwanted Ads, sweepstakes, etc Blocked Blocked Blocked
Webmail Sites that offer the ability to send or receive email Allowed Allowed Blocked


Requesting Websites to be Blocked/Unblocked

Requests for Websites to be Blocked

All requests for websites to be blocked should be submitted by entering a Help Desk Ticket. The following information should be included in the request:

  • Complete URL (web address)
  • Reason(s) for blocking
  • Which user groups should be blocked (see Filtering Rules above)

Requests for websites to be blocked will be acted upon prior to requests for unblocking websites.

Requests for websites to be unblocked

All requests for websites to be unblocked should be submitted to the school principal or department director with explanation of instructional or job-function necessity. A Help Desk Ticket must be submitted by the school principal or department director to unblock a website at their discretion.  These requests should include:

For Instructional Use:

  • Explanation of correlation to curriculum
  • How the website will be used in the lesson plan
  • Specific tasks students will need to complete
  • User group to be unblocked (see Filtering Rules)
  • Complete URL (web address)
  • Phone extension of requesting staff member
  • A screenshot of the blocked message showing the reason the website is blocked

For Job Function:

  • Explanation of necessity for job-function
  • User group to be unblocked (see Filtering Rules)
  • Complete URL (web address)
  • Phone extension of requesting staff member
  • A screenshot of the blocked message showing the reason the website is blocked
    • Instructions for making screenshots are on the Technology Support tab in RSDNet.

The Technology Services Help Desk is instructed to send all requests that do not include complete information back to the sender.  Complete requests are acted upon after requests for blocking of websites. 

Process of Approval for Unblocking Websites

  • Principal and Director requests will be evaluated by the CTO of Technology Services for legal, financial, and system support concerns and by the Director of Digital Learning for legal, financial, and instructional concerns.
  • Initial decisions will be made and then taken to RTCC for verification and further discussion.
    • Appeals can be made directly to RTCC by appointment.

Web Publishing Guidelines


  • Pictures and graphics should not be used instead of text.
    • EX:  Do not use an image of the word "NEW" in a page.  Use the actual text.
  • Use text that makes sense when read out of context.
  • Avoid "click here" for links.


  • Verify that all links in your website are working before publishing.
    • Confirm them once a month.
  • Links must have appropriate educational use and must serve a specific purpose to the web page.
    • EX: homework, resources, science project resources, reading, and library resources, etc.
  • Links to .edu, .us, and .gov sites may be used without prior approval provided they meet the criteria above.
  • Links whose primary purpose is sales are not allowed.
  • Links to chat rooms are not allowed.

Quality Content

  • Content is free of libel, slander, racial slurs, obscenities or other expressions not protected by first amendment right to free speech.
  • Web pages should reflect high standards in ethics, professionalism, and educational quality.
  • Spelling and grammar have been checked.
  • Diverse gender, culture, and ethnic groups are represented appropriately.
  • Controversial issues are treated with sensitivity to varying viewpoints.
  • Web pages must comply with all state federal and international laws concerning copyright and intellectual property rights.

Employee Biography Pages

  • Primary photo is one that a parent or community can see what you look like from a face to face angle. Picture should be professional and similar to one used in a yearbook or news article.
  • Second acceptable picture that an employee could include is a picture of their classroom, of them teaching class, or one showing their creativity. This should be appropriate for the school district site.
  • Text can be educational history, certifications, or other appropriate information to help the community know you better.

Other Reference