I've e-mailed this to my representative. I'm contacting both the ISTE and AASL legislative committtees. Any of you?
Kudos to Will Richardson. Find his letter here.
Liz at I Speak of Dreams, puts this legislation in the context of a more far-reaching plan. Interesting reading and she promises her own letter soon.
Congressman Gil Gutknecht
1530 Greenview Drive SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Dear Representative Gutkneckt:
I am writing in opposition to the Deleting Online Predators Act 2006 also known as DOPA. This amendment to the Communications act of 1934 (an extension to the Children’s Internet Protection Act) was introduced by Mr. Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania on May 9, 2006. As a classroom teacher, librarian and administrator with over thirty years experience in both public and private schools, I believe I have some germane insights into this bill.
The intent of the amendment is one with which all responsible adults would agree: to protect minors from the predatory behaviors of adults. And indeed, some cases have been recorded in which children have been solicited using online communication tools (social networking tools such as blogs, wikis, and chat).
But the amendment as written is too broad and overly restrictive, preventing educators from using social networking tools for educational purposes, blocking sites of legitimate educational value, removing local control from states and school districts, placing a burdensome responsibility on technology support personnel in school districts, and doing nothing to protect children using these technologies outside of school or public libraries.
Children are best protected by:
- Having adult supervision during all online activities.
- Engaging in effective training programs for children, parents and educators that stress safe and ethical behaviors
- Developing life-long strategies for insuring personal privacy.
Legislation that would require students be taught safe Internet behaviors would go further in achieving the goal of protecting children that requiring any particular Internet protocols or set of websites be blocked.
We all want safe environments for our children in both the physical and virtual worlds. Please consider the most effective means by which that can be achieved. It is not DOPA.
Thank you and all the best,
Director of Media and Technology
Mankato Area Public Schools
(Phone number included.)