"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

Internet filters: What do they really block?

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by John Bowen
sprclogo“For speech class, senior Dave Jennings needed to find information about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain,” Maggie Beckwith, senior reporter for the Lakewood Times, began her story on the effects of Internet filtering.

“I was trying to go to the Rolling Stone magazine web site to get lyrics” Jennings said. “I couldn’t get to anything.”

Later in the story, Beckwith quoted Judith Krug, director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom, a division of the American Library Association. “Administrators can say they are ‘protecting the children’ but no they not. Filters limit choices young people have in terms of accessing school work and pursuing their own intellectual curiosity.”

That was in 2002.

Beckwith went on to study journalism at Syracuse University and interned at the Student Press Law Center.

Internet filters continued blocking legitimate sites.

Since then, groups have challenged the effectiveness of Internet filters as educationally unsound and operations for prior review and censors that set up barriers and taboos instead of educating you, according to a fact sheet on The Free Expression Policy Project website.

To raise awareness of overly restrictive blocking in schools and school libraries of legitimate, educational websites aBWAD-2014_webbadgend academically useful social networking tools, The American Association of School Librarians has designated Wednesday, Sept. 24 as Banned Websites Awareness Day

AASL asked school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning as part of Banned Books Week.

As part of that recognition, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights committee will conduct a national survey of the impact of Internet filters beginning that day and last a week. We invite you and your students to take part in the survey by going to jeasprc.org and accessing the survey information there.

The commission asks students and advisers to test their Internet filters to see if their filtering goes beyond what filters are charged with blocking by the Children’s Internet Protection Act as numerous studies and groups have argued.

When information has been gathered, SPRC will report on the survey’s results and share that data.

Please check the committee’s website, its Facebook page or JEA’s Facebook page Sept. 24 for access to the survey.

 

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Internet filters: More than annoying

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by John Bowen
sprclogoTo raise awareness of overly restrictive blocking in schools and school libraries of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools, The American Association of School Librarians has designated Wednesday, Sept. 24 as Banned Websites Awareness Day.

AASL asked school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning as part of Banned Books Week.

As part of that recognition, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights committee will conduct a national survey of the impact of Internet filters beginning that day and last a week. We invite you and your students to take part in the survey by going to jeasprc.org and accessing the survey information there.

The commission asks students and advisers to test their Internet filters to see if their filtering goes beyond what filters are charged with blocking by the Children’s Internet Protection Act as numerous studies and groups have argued. BWAD-2014_webbadge

When information has been gathered, SPRC will report on the survey’s results and share that data.

Please check the committee’s website, its Facebook page or JEA’s Facebook page Sept. 24 for access to the survey.

 

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5 Important points you might have missed this week

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With all the attention to Constitution Day and its lessons this week (which are usable any time), you might have missed other points of information:

• Friday, Sept. 19, the SPLC released information about reprinting its articles. For more information, go here.

• The same day Evelyn Lauer posted commentary to Huffington Post on the Neshaminey board suspension of its newspaper editor and adviser.

• An article on the Thinkprogress site about the Neshaminy issue.

• A column by Megan Fromm about the importance of news literacy and a scholastic journalism where students make all final decisions of content and learn from that action.

• A Thinglink visual linking to other essential SPRC works

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JEA-SPRC, SPLC condemn Neshaminy school district for
punishing newspaper editor, adviser
in ongoing fight over ‘Redskins’ name

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Student Press Law Center and Journalism Education Association Scholastic Press Rights Commission condemned the actions of the Neshaminy School District in Pennsylvania Wednesday, following the District’s retaliatory and illegal actions calculated to punish thePlaywickian student newspaper, its editors and its adviser.

In response to an editorial board decision not to print the word “Redskins” because of its use as a racial slur, the administration handed down a decision this week to pull $1,200 of funding from the publication; to suspend its adviser, Tara Huber, for two days; and to suspend Editor-in-Chief Gillian McGoldrick from the newspaper until the end of September.

It has long been the law of this country that no government official can compel a student to speak or adopt words with which she disagrees. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). Imposing discipline for refusing to participate in the use of a racial slur is not only unconstitutional; it is un-American in the extreme.

These actions come at a time when a transparently illegal publications policy remains on the books at the District level, one that also purports to compel the use of certain words and attempts to hijack ownership of student work. These are, at their core, bullying tactics—forcing people to say words, then turn over their property.

Competent educators of good conscience would never resort to bullying tactics to perpetuate any ideology, let alone a racially offensive one.

We encourage the students to explore their legal options and urge the State of Pennsylvania to investigate whether the Neshaminy School Board members should be removed.

Contact:

Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center
703.807.1904 / director@splc.org

John Bowen, Director, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission
330.676.3666 / jabowen@kent.edu

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