DES MOINES, Iowa – State Rep. Garrett Gobble, R-Ankeny, introduced a bill, HF 2052, that explicitly states a school district can filter internet sites so that no device using the school district’s servers can connect to social media sites.
“I filed the bill to give our schools a tool in the toolbox and the clear-cut approval to ensure content on their internet is academically beneficial,” Garrett, who teaches in Ankeny Community Schools, told The Iowa Torch.
He said many school districts already filter social media. For example, schools often install filtering software on school-issued devices, but not every school district attempts to filter social media on student-owned devices using their network.
Garrett said that those school districts are often concerned about questions of censorship.
“This gives black and white backing to them monitor their network more,” he explained.
His bill gained the support of two of his colleagues in the subcommittee he chaired for the bill on Thursday. State Reps. Tracy Ehlert, D-Cedar Rapids, and Ray Sorenson, R-Greenfield, voted to approve the legislation.
Several education groups are registered as “undecided” on the bill. However, at the time of publication, the Iowa State Education Association was the only group that registered support.
The bill is eligible for consideration by the whole Iowa House Education Committee.