Where Did Snapchat Go?


Aimeric Amblard and Colin Egan

Almost two years ago, the Essex Westford School District rolled out a new wave of internet bans. Some of the apps that were banned were Tiktok and Snapchat. 

Snapchat is an app that allows users to communicate with each other by sending pictures and text that can only be viewed once.

There were many student speculations about why they decided to ban this. The district’s technology department had answers. Mark Maitner is one of the three network administrators for Essex High School, and has been for the last two and a half years. 

“Our lead network admin [Peter Drescher] had a conversation with EHS principals,” Mark Maitner said. “They agreed that and since there was no apparent educational benefit to Snapchat or TikTok that they could be blocked from our school network.”

When it was banned in the school, the only way to access it was by turning the wifi off of your phone, which was inconvenient for students trying to communicate with their peers. 

“It is extremely frustrating. I just want to know what my fellow peers are doing for lunch. So I can go and join them and socialize like a normal teenager should,” Senior Will Powell said.

Unfortunately, students experience spotty coverage in certain places in the building.

“There are some spots in the school where there’s absolutely no [cell signal]. So you can’t even use it if you turn off the WiFi,” said Junior Abby Spafford.

Some students also took to Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) to circumvent the ban, despite many risks. A VPN is a service that prevents the school from seeing what your phone is browsing and stops their systems from blocking your internet traffic. 

“Downloading a VPN is very hard and you could download one with a virus,” said Powell.

According to EHS computer support specialist, CJ Elliott, it is also against school policy to be using a VPN on any device that is using the school network.

“The technology department always works with school administration when enacting major changes that may affect them. This may include front office staff or teachers, but not students,,” Maitner said. “I can’t speak to the depth of the conversation, as I was not a part of it”

 For now Snapchat will remain banned and it is unclear when, if ever, it will return.