ALABAMA SUPERINTENDENT RECOMMENDS SCHOOLS BAN TIKTOK, BLOCK ACCESS ON WIFI

By Trisha Powell Crain 

Alabama’s state superintendent of education, taking a cue from Gov. Kay Ivey, is recommending local schools ban TikTok from devices and block student and staff access on campus networks.

“I believe you should strongly consider removing TikTok apps from your devices and blocking its use on your network,” Mackey wrote in a weekly newsletter to superintendents on Wednesday, acknowledging that local boards of education have sole authority for making that decision.

Many schools bought and issued thousands of devices for students to access remote learning during the pandemic.

The devices cost millions of dollars. Many students and staff still use them to do homework, research and assignments — and possibly, make, post and watch viral videos.

Many officials and experts consider the app a security risk; in 2019, the Federal Trade Commission also fined its parent company, ByteDance, for illegally collecting information from children under the age of 13.

“I would strongly encourage you to review your current policies and procedures around school system-owned devices and platforms,” Mackey wrote.

At least one school in the state — Central High School in Phenix City — appears to have an official account. The Red Devils last posted about athletics teams Dec. 8.

Auburn University last week announced it will block TikTok on university WiFi and warned employees not to install the app on school-issued phones and devices.