JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Some parents want the school district to ban students from using school computers to access blogs, or Web logs, where they say teenagers are glamorizing the use of drugs and alcohol, promoting parties and posting personal information.

“Our biggest mission, I think, is to just genuinely heighten the awareness – let parents know that this is going on,” said parent Kathi Collum with Parents Unite, a newly formed Juneau parent-advocacy group.

At least 300 Juneau-Douglas High School students are listed with sites under myspace.com, but parents also worry about postings on two others blogs, xanga.com, and livejournal.com.

“Miller Light has waaaaay more taste then Bud Light,” one 16-year-old from Juneau wrote on a blog, under a photo posted of him presumably drinking a beer. A 16-year-old Juneau girl wrote: “I wanna boy so drunk he doesn’t talk Monday.”

“Our point is not to impede free speech or their ability to express themselves. We just don’t want the school district to allow it to go on there (at school), and we want these kids to be safe,” parent Amy Deininger told the Juneau Empire.

Juneau-Douglas High School computer technician Barbara Kelly-Page said the school has been working on ways to better monitor Internet use on the school’s roughly 500 computers.

New software lets administrators monitor a certain number of the computers. The school also has an Internet filter that blocks pornographic sites.

Blocking individual sites would be difficult because of their number, which is increasing constantly, Kelly-Page said.

Superintendent Peggy Cowan said the school board and the district are discussing possible solutions to the problem of easy access to the Internet at school.

“The use and visiting of these kinds of blogs (at school) is strictly prohibited,” Cowan said.

The high school has yet to discipline students for breaking the rule, she said, but students could face detention, suspension or expulsion, depending on the infraction.

Monitoring sites is difficult because the majority of the traffic to online journal sites is done outside of school, Juneau-Douglas business teacher Lesslie Knight said. She said some students believe these are personal journals.

“As a district we can’t discipline something they did outside of school,” Cowan said.

The blogs discuss everything from touting drugs and alcohol, to animosity toward parents, to cheating on tests. Parents also worried about teenagers who post provocative photos along with information about how the teen can be reached.

Group members also worry about online party-networking through the sites.

Police last weekend broke up an underage drinking party that had been advertised online. Five teenagers were cited for underage drinking and a 52-year-old woman was cited for furnishing alcohol to minors.

 

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