Rumor Mill - April 12, 2022

  • Published April 12, 2022

    Did WCS suspend access to Epic after a parental complaint of one book included in that app?

    Last week, after concerns were shared with district staff about a children’s digital library app with more than 40,000 selections being used in WCS elementary grades, the district temporarily removed the app called Epic from teacher and student devices until further review. This review was based upon concerns related to the book titled, An ABC of Equality, and other books with similar topics. District staff examined how students access the content available through the app while at school and checked to ensure that WCS internet filters were appropriately screening content when accessed directly through the app.

    The district has completed its review and found:

    • There are no issues with internet filtering through the district’s network.
    • The district’s subscription offers no mechanism for parents to choose specific books that their child can or cannot read at school, unlike our school libraries.
    • Parents may ask that the entire app be removed from an individual student’s dashboard on their Chromebook.

    Beginning Thursday, April 14, by the end of the workday, Epic will be returned to the teacher and student dashboards. However, if a parent wants the Epic app removed from their child’s dashboard, the parent may email the school principal, and Epic will be removed from their child’s dashboard within 24 hours of the school being notified, Monday through Friday.

    For the 2022-23 school year, parents can expect additional changes due to a new State law taking effect that may limit the district’s future use of apps. The Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022, Public Chapter 744, requires that beginning next fall, each school shall maintain a current list on its website of the following materials: books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, prints, documents, microfilm, discs, cassettes, videotapes, videogames, applications and subscription content in any form, in the school's library collection. Each of the more than 600 apps used in WCS will be reviewed to ensure the district can maintain current lists of the apps’ contents as required by this new law.

    The purpose of this section is to answer any questions parents, teachers or community members might have regarding the school district and to set the record straight in regards to any rumors that might be circulating. If you have a question or have heard a rumor that you would like us to address, simply EMAIL US your questions and we will respond to them in upcoming issues of InFocus.