Students at MCHS often have a difficult time using their devices. When useful websites are blocked on their Chromebooks and they don’t get a signal on their phones, students become frustrated and demotivated. (Kennedy Tetour)
Students at MCHS often have a difficult time using their devices. When useful websites are blocked on their Chromebooks and they don’t get a signal on their phones, students become frustrated and demotivated.

Kennedy Tetour

No service

Students at MCHS struggled with weak cell phone service, and some apps don't work all while being connected to the school wifi

December 19, 2022

Cell service and wifi at MCHS is unpredictable, with students being unable to send text messages to families along with relatively no applications working on their personal phones, and plenty of harmless websites blocked, suspicions rise. Reasons vary from the fact that the building just happens to be made of concrete and providing for hundreds of people at once, all the way to the possibility of a service blocker. 

“I do not trust using the school wifi on my phone,” senior Peyton Shoevlin says. “It makes me feel uncomfortable that the school can see everything that I’m doing on my phone. It’s an invasion of privacy in my opinion.”

But that’s sometimes the only option if students want to use their phones to connect to the internet. Many students lack phone service and their phones are rendered basically useless seeing as they can’t serve their main function, this can cause issues with safety and even privacy among the student body.

Students have also realized that, when trying to use apps like Snapchat and Discord on their personal phone while connected to school wifi, the apps don’t work at all. After disconnecting from the network, they function just fine.

“It really depends on the app, like Snapchat,” says Hilary Agnello, a dean of students at the MCHS Upper Campus. “I can’t get Snapchat to work in this building and I’m an administrator, so it really depends. I’d have to look at the apps specifically, but there are definitely apps that we control.”

The school administration does disable certain apps on students’ phones, however, which brings up a lot of questions and concerns from the student body.

“I feel like they shouldn’t be able to block access to things on our phone,” senior Megann Riley Rosales states. “Chromebooks are understandable, seeing as they’re the schools property. But our phones? I don’t think they should. It’s the students’ property, not the schools … so I feel like they shouldn’t be allowed to block apps or websites on our phones. That’s just wrong.”

Although service blockers exist, MCHS does not use one such a device to block student service. Blockers like that are illegal in most areas. This could just mean MCHS is either in a spot with limited service or the population of the school is interfering with the quality of service.

If MCHS was purposefully blocking students from sending text messages or making calls, this could be a huge safety hazard. In the event of a lockdown or emergency it is essential that students have the ability to contact family or authorities outside of the building. 

Along with personal devices being affected, at MCHS many sites such as Netflix, Quora, and some study-help websites are blocked on student chromebooks. Some of these sites can benefit students, and don’t make sense to block seeing as they cause relatively no harm and can allow students to access needed information. 

“There can be specifications when we catch things,” Angello adds. “There are some sites that actually aren’t bad but what ends up happening is we know that adults can get access to our students inappropriately through that. Once we catch that once it’s shut down. The other one can be, for example, Netflix. We know for a fact we can’t monitor that and there are things that are mature rated on that, which we are not allowed to show kids.” 

Websites like GradeSaver, Shmoop, and Course Hero don’t completely adhere to these requirements, so it leaves MCHS students to question why they were blocked in the first place. These websites allow students to gain access to tutors and school help just like Paper, which could benefit their academics, but with these websites blocked these students cannot get this help.

The need to protect students is understandable, but the way the school goes about it can be considered wrong seeing as they’re interfering with personal devices and preventing students from accessing plenty of useful sources online.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Photo of Freedom Tomasello
Freedom Tomasello, Opinion Editor
Freedom Tomasello is a senior at McHenry High School's Upper Campus. She enjoys spending time with friends and traveling around town. She is the current social media manager of activism club and wants to become a paleontologist after college. This is Freedom’s second year on the Messenger’s staff.


2023 IHSA Sectionals (second in Editorial Writing)

IJEA Fall Journalism Convention Write-Offs (first in Editorial Writing)
Photo of Kennedy Tetour
Kennedy Tetour, Managing Editor
Kennedy Tetour is a veteran of the McHenry Messenger and in her first year as a part of the Warrior Weekly. She enjoys music, writing, and is the Messenger's resident movie fanatic. Kennedy is looking forward to her senior year and can't wait to change and grow along with the newspaper and it's staff this year.


“MCHS celebrates Homecoming 2022” (IJEA)

“Groovy Movies: Summer recap” (IJEA)

IJEA All-State Journalism Team (2023)

NSPA Leadership Award in Student Journalism (2023)

2023 IHSA Sectionals (fifth in Review Writing, sixth in Headline Writing)

IJEA Fall Journalism Convention Write-Offs (first in Feature Writing)

“Gallery: Honors Drones and Unmanned Flights” (IJEA)

2022 IHSA Sectionals (fourth in Review Writing)

"12 days of movies" (IJEA)

"Spring musical tech week" (IJEA)

Comments (0)

The McHenry Messenger intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussions. Comments both on our website and social media must leave a door open for discussion and cannot include any attacks on the writer or the subject of the writing, but may include constructive criticism. Along with this, no profanity will be tolerated. All McHenry Messenger comments will be reviewed by a moderator prior to being publicly posted. The McHenry Messenger does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The McHenry Messenger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *