Why do students need email?

[![][]][]On the Ohio Technology Coordinator’s listserv this question was

> We already had one case of student to teacher generated e-mail that
> originated on a student computer inside the school. The FIRST question
> I got as the Tech Director was ‘Why are you allowing students to send
> and receive email in school?’

And my question would be, “Why are you letting them use pencil and
paper? They could be sending notes to other students or staff!”. For
discipline we do not distinguish between computer generated or person
generated correspondence. The punishment may change if it’s on the
computer because they’d lose computer privileges due to the AUP.

You’re not going to be able to stop it. A student could simply fire up
telnet and use your existing mail server to send email to whoever
they want, saying anything they want.

No access to telnet on the machine? Then throw up a Java telnet client
on any old web host and access it from there. Actually, if I wanted to
get around a school’s filters, this is the route I’d probably go. Once I
get SSH somewhere, I can get full access to the Internet, and it only
requires port 80, a web browser, and Java. (This is what I use at places
that have network access locked down. I open a SSH tunnel over port 443
to my home computer, and then have full access to anything on the

Not only is email use part of the State of Ohio Technology Standards, it
is our job as teachers to educate the students on the proper use of
email. How to use it, what’s appropriate, etc. Part of the problem with
the garbage that students send through email is that they’ve never seen
anything else. It’s pretty foreign for them to see an email message with
proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. (I hope I have everything
correct in this post! πŸ™‚

I bet you have students right now using a free email services, ssh
tunnels, etc.

We like to think we have things locked down, but unless you’re working
for the NSA, you do not have it locked down. Education of the students,
punishment for inappropriate behavior is a good way to go. We as
Technology Coordinators we have a habit of putting up technological road
blocks instead of solving the real problems.

Thunderbird Email

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