Library enforces District video game policy during Flex Time


Chloe Baker

On his laptop in a classroom, senior Carson Luther plays Mario Kart. With the addition of Flex Time this year, various students have chose to spend their time in the Library playing video games, but a new library policy has impacted those students.

With 283 minutes of Flex Time in a typical week, students have a vast amount of time to meet with teachers, complete homework, attend meetings, talk to friends or just relax. Some students even choose to spend their free time in the Library playing video games. 

“It was just fun. We’re all on different platforms. Some are on PC, some on console, so we can’t play together all the time, and [the Library] provided great middle ground for everyone,” junior Isa Jackson said.

Throughout first semester, Jackson and his friends spent several Flex periods in the Library playing video games such as Halo, Counter Strike and Minecraft. 

At the beginning of 2020 and start of second semester, however, some gaming in the Library was restricted. Students in the Library are no longer allowed to play first person shooter games which are downloaded and saved to students’ Google Drive accounts at their homes and accessed at Lafayette. 

It was brought to our attention that how students were accessing the file to play their first person shooter games is they would be outside of school, and they would download the file and save it in their Google Drive,” Librarian Jane Lingafelter said. “When they would get to school, they would open it in Google Drive and share it, so when that was brought to our attention, we had to end it.” 

The playing of these video games was restricted in the Library due to a preexisting Rockwood School District (RSD) policy.  

According to RSD Policy 6321, activities on the district’s network that include “Downloading, filing, relaying or running any game or entertainment software or game server software, including games that run inside of web browsers except for specific instructional purposes [or] running peer to peer file sharing systems without approval from the Technology Department” are restricted. 

I think it’s kind of unfair that they didn’t warn us or anything. We just walked in one day, and they said ‘You guys can’t play anymore,’” Jackson said. “Everyone was respectful of the rules even when there were Silent Thursdays when there was supposed to be silence. No one talked. It was really rude in my eyes.”

Although games that are downloaded and shared by students are prohibited, other video games such as Cool Math Games and games on Nintendo Switches are still allowed in the Library during Flex Time. 

“Kids use the computers for a variety of reasons, so not all games are banned. It’s just games that avoid the content filter. We were expecting a little more resistance because when we change things like not eating lunch in the Library or other things, kids have had a lot more comments, but for this one people have said, ‘Okay. We understand,’” Lingafelter said. 

Despite the changed policy, Jackson and other students have started playing other video games on their laptops and Nintendo Switches in the Commons. Some students have began playing the card game Uno instead. 

Not all of us have the same stuff to play together with. [During Flex] it’s kind of nice because we can all do the same thing,” junior Sasha Alsiweadi said.