Firewalls: Putting A Limit On Learning

Submitted By srosed
Words: 2732
Pages: 11

Firewalls: Putting a Limit on Learning High school English teacher, Ms. Smith, searched all night for the perfect tutorial on how to write an essay for her struggling students. She was about to give up when she found the perfect video on YouTube. In the next class, excited for this influential lecture, Ms. Smith opened her laptop to show her students the video, but when she tried to open the link the website simply read “ACCESS DENIED.” The gray ambiance of the projector stared at the faces of the students. This was a major setback for Ms. Smith and her class— her lesson plan revolved entirely around the information articulated in the video. This scenario is more common than you’d think. High school teachers all across America are limited to what information they can access online. Students, as well teachers, are suffering from internet censorship in school. Access to filtered websites can improve ways of teaching and develop a new means of learning for students. U.S. high schools should remove all internet filters in order for students and teachers to access more educational information online. Censorship is the act of suppressing information considered “unacceptable” from others. People apply the act of censorship to books, television, movies and, of course, the internet. According to Charles Clark’s article “School Censorship,” the long battle of censorship pertaining to literature goes as far back as 1644. It began when parents decided that certain books were not suitable for their high school students to read (Clark). Parents have played a major role in the banning of books in the past, present and, undoubtedly, the future. They believed some books contain inappropriate content and deemed them unsuitable for their children to read (Clark). Many books that have been banned or challenged are often books students are required to read throughout their English courses in high school. On the American Library Association’s (ALA) website, the page “Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000- 2009”gives an example of some of the required reading books that have been challenged or banned. Some of these titles include To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger and Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, just to name a few (ALA).
In Clark’s article he states that parent’s complaints “range from profane language to sexual explicitness to “anti-Christian” images to unflattering renderings of minorities.” The ALA website also explains that from 2000 to 2009 there were over 5,000 books challenged because of sexually explicit material, violence, offensive language, material deemed unsuitable for age group, homosexuality and occult or Satanic themes. Parents have challenged books by going to school boards and proposing that the books be removed from public schools course curricula and libraries (Clark) and also by challenging them to the ALA and requesting that they be banned.
In the book “Keep Them Reading: An Anti-censorship Handbook for Educators,” by Gloria Pipkin and ReLeah Cossett Lent, they explain the result of the court case of Board of Education vs. Pico. In this case the Supreme Court ruled that “local public school boards cannot ban book from school libraries merely because they dislike the ideas expressed in them (Lent & Pipkin Forward ix). This can also be applied to the rules of the internet at school as well as books. Parents and school faculty members believe some websites are not appropriate for use during school hours, however they cannot block sites just because they do not like the content displayed in them. With technology on the rise in the past several years, censorship has gone beyond the banning of books in schools. Recently, parents have expanded their discontent from works of literature, to the issue of internet safety at school. Raising questions on how educators plan to ensure an appropriate use of the internet on school grounds. U.S. public high school’s school boards