Complaint over porn on Bangor primary school computer

A girl browsing the internet on a laptop computer The father says his daughter has asked awkward questions about the images

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A father has complained to education officials after his nine-year-old daughter was able to view pornographic images on a primary school computer.

She told her father that boys in the IT suite at the school in Bangor, Gwynedd, were viewing the site.

Gwynedd council said a flaw in software blocking inappropriate sites and images had been identified and action taken.

The council said its web filter company had taken immediate action when it was informed.

The father said he faced "quite an awkward evening" dealing with his daughter's questions after she told him what had happened at the school.

Start Quote

I don't care whose fault it is, it just shouldn't have happened and the school - especially the headmaster - should never have been put in this position”

End Quote Father

He said: "She was busy working away on her computer in the IT suite and she heard some boys laughing, so she turned round to see what they were up to, and what she was faced with was indecent images of women on the screen.

"Now, I accept as a parent that we can't keep her sheltered form these things forever.

"But also as a parent I would expect to be able to be given the opportunity myself to decide when I approach these facts and figures and things with her and, as a parent, when I feel she's old enough - not in a classroom as a nine-year-old."

He is concerned that it will have a long-term impact on his daughter.

The father said: "She's quite a deep thinker. She does like to ponder over things so we'll just wait and see over the next three or four days what the questions are - and I'm sure there will be more questions."

He praised the school's response, and said the head teacher explained to him that he had no control over the internet filters, with those technical aspects handled by Gwynedd council.

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A flaw was identified in this software... as soon it was identified we were in touch with the supplier who took immediate action to deal with the situation”

End Quote Ioan Thomas Gwynedd council

He said the local authority was also quick to respond. It told him that a company deals with the IT filters on its behalf and that the loophole has now been blocked until a permanent answer can be found.

But the father said an apology was not good enough.

He said: "It's a 'sorry', yes, but it doesn't wash with me. You cannot have those kind of pictures in a primary school - end of.

"I don't care whose fault it is, it just shouldn't have happened and the school - especially the headmaster - should never have been put in this position. It's not acceptable."

Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd council's cabinet member for customer care, said safe internet use was of "utmost importance," adding: "We use recognised industry technology, supplied by a specialist company, to block access to unsuitable images and websites from school computers".

He went on: "Yesterday a flaw was identified in this software. As soon it was identified we were in touch with the supplier who took immediate action to deal with the situation.

"This is a serious matter and support is available to anyone who has been affected. We are continuing to work with the software provider to determine how exactly this problem occurred.

"As the cabinet member responsible for information technology matters, I have asked the department to carry out a review of our arrangements to see what lessons need to be learnt and to act upon them immediately."

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