Posts Tagged "censorship"

What ‘s banned in your neighborhood?
Banned Websites Awareness Week brings
chance to examine extent of Internet filtering


sprclogoAccording to a new report from the American Library Association, Internet-filtering software blocks more content than required and deprives students of access to information and collaborative tools

Titled Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) 10 Years Later, the report also argues those children most affected are the poor, who might not otherwise have unfiltered Internet Access if they cannot access it at school.

JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee would like to see how journalism programs currently fare in today’s filtered high schools.

We urge you to complete the linked  survey to see what your schools filters block, either for your students or for other classes in your school.BWAD-2014_webbadge

Students surfing the Web themselves or interviewing others who do can provide students with a worthwhile experience in news literacy as they become informed about information availability and how that affects society’s knowledge and ability to act on that knowledge.

We hope this survey will gather enough representative information to allow JEA and others to design strategies to help journalism programs work in a less filtered environment.

This lesson plan by Lori Keekley can add structure to your searching.

Survey instructions:

  1. Click here to go to the survey.
  2. Each student or adviser should complete a separate form.
  3. Each form allows the student or adviser to identify multiple blocked sites
  4. Submit the results of your surveys from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3
  5. Submit all forms by Oct. 3
  6. If you gathered any of your information using audio or video or have any visual reporting, please feel free to share that with us here
  7. Use links on the accompanying graphic to access Internet filtering
  8. JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee will post information about the results in the near future
  9. Publish results of your own surveys to show the local impact of filtering and share with us
  10. If you have questions or run into problems, contact us here
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Internet filters: More than annoying


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 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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It’s ironic



by John Bowen
It’s ironic that Sept. 17, a day mandated to honor the Constitution of the United States, also this year marks the 2-day suspension of Neshaminy adviser Tara Huber for what the board of education calls insubordination.

The board suspended her without pay for failing to stop students from defying its directive. Her crime: She did not censor her students’ actions, actions she had no part in and did not even know about.

Additionally, the board of education stripped the students’ fundraising account of $1,200 to reimburse printing costs when students failed to print a letter in that issue using a term they deemed offensive.

In our minds, Huber and her students, through their actions of following their beliefs and Constitutional protections, represent the true spirit of the Constitution.



Every day.

Background materials:

• Constitution Day lessons
• SPLC search for Neshaminy
• Neshaminy HS adviser suspended over newspaper’s ban
• Neshaminy suspends newspaper adviser for two days without pay
 Editor, faculty advisor suspended for refusing to print ‘redskin’ in school paper 

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In case you missed something we’ve done …


In case you might have missed some of our key projects and materials, here is a quick and easy way to locate them. Materials range from access to the Panic Button to passing free expression legislation in your state.

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Censorship lesson and case study: Fond du Lac


Censorship Case Study
by Jeff Kocur

A case study on the Fond du Lac High School Cardinal Column’s censorship by administration after the publishing of an article on a rape culture at the school. The study involves censorship of Fond du Lac High School’s by administration after the publishing of an article on a rape culture at the school. Students examine the application of the First Amendment to high school students and evaluate and hypothesize what they might do if faced with a similar situation.

• Students will examine the application of the First Amendment to high school students
• Students will discuss the censorship of a high school publication.
• Students will evaluate and hypothesize what they would do if they were in a similar situation.

Common Core State Standards
Informational text; Integration of knowledge and ideas
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
• Informational text; Integration of knowledge and ideas
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principlesand use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

100 minutes (Two 50-minute classes)

Materials / resources
Handout 1

Handout 2
Rape Culture Coverage
For more information about the situation:
• Article on the issue
• Student Press Law Center with links to story
• Article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lesson step-by-step
Day One:

1. Background — 3 minutes
Teacher should either talk through or project the following:
Summation of issue:
Students at the Cardinal Columns, the student run newspaper at Fond Du Lac High School in Fond Du Lac, Wisc., were compelled to write a piece in the February issue about a rape culture at their school. The Editor-in-Chief, Tanvi Kumar told the Student Press Law Center the following.

“We are so saturated in a society that tolerates and even condones objectification of women and sexualizes them to be less than human beings,” Kumar said. “I think a lot of that … contributes to rape jokes and rape culture, and it’s not something that I could see going under the radar anymore.”

After the article was published, the principal, Jon Wiltzius, enacted a school board policy on the books, but not in practice, that would require the students to submit their paper to him prior to publication. He censored a photo on the cover of the next issue that was critical of the new policy.

2. Opening question — 2 minutes
Ask the students “What if this happened at your school?”
Teacher note: A healthy, mutual understanding of the First Amendment between your staff and your administrator would likely make this a non-issue, but not all schools are that lucky. You may want to share the First Amendment with the students as well.

3. Reading the article — 25 minutes
Teacher should pass out the article. Students should read the coverage in its entirety.

4. Pair work — 15 minutes
Teacher should pass out “Handout 1.” Students could work on the sheet in pairs.

5. Homework
If students have not finished the handout, ask them to do it for homework.

Day 2

1. Recap — 5 minutes
Ask students to “remind you” of what they read about the day before.

2. Large group discussion — 15 minutes
Teacher should ask each group to report their answers. Teacher should facilitate the discussion.

3. Small group work — 15 minutes
Ask each pair to partner with another pair. Pass out “Handout 2.” Students should answer the questions from the sheet.

4. Large group discussion — 15 minutes
Again, teacher should ask each group to report their answers. Teacher should facilitate the discussion.

If students would like more information on the Fond du Lac censorship, they should access the articles listed in the resources section.

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