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« The direction of state school library organizations | Main | 8 ways to reduce device damage in 1:1 programs »

BFTP: Don't be a mushroom when it comes to filtering

Knowledge is power.
Francis Bacon 

At a conference session I once attended, a school librarian discussed how she was able to get a GBLT website unblocked in her district - but not until after a long and stressful ordeal, including the involvement of the ACLU. 

The discussion was inspiring and I applaud the librarian's efforts and eventual success, but it also made me wonder how many librarians and classroom teachers could answer these simple, but important questions:

  1. What is the brand name of your Internet filter and what are its features? Can sites be white/black listed? Can teachers be given the ability to bypass the filter? Is the filter local or regional? How are the organization units (OUs) structured?
  2. Who actually decides what sites are blocked in your district or region? Is there a process to getting a site unblocked or blocked?
  3. Do you know your district's official selection and reconsideration policies? Do they apply to all resources - curriculum and library; physical and digital? Is there a standing or selected reconsideration committee?
  4. What does CIPA actually require be blocked? Graphics and/or text? Social media? Pornography? Violence? Have you read the law?

Without knowing the answers to these questions, one is at the mercy of the tech department in determining what is allowed and not allowed through the Internet filter. I hear more librarians say, "The tech director says it (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) is not CIPA compliant. Well that, quite frankly, is bullshit and if you accept it, you are a mushroom - being kept in the dark and fed a lot of bull. 

Come on, knowledge is power. Know the facts about Internet filtering! Do it for your students.

Original post Nov 18, 2013

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks so much for this reminder. I will check on the parts I don't know, which is most. We don't filter a lot at our school and can usually get anything needed for a class quite easily if there is a problem. As librarians, I think it is good information for us to know because you are right ~ knowledge is power! Again, thanks. :)

January 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda Miller

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