November 4, 2011
Several schools across the country have increasingly censoring students and setting up strict confounds on how they feel students should appear, behave and learn. School boards often face the onerous task of creating up to date policies on issue ranging on types of logos allowed on a t-shirt to the type of content allowable for students to view on the internet. For this reason, censorship has gone from a few guidelines to becoming a re-occurring disturbance in education. Censorship was once seen as a fundamental tool used to keep provocative material such as sex, drugs, alcohol out of view for minors. Censorship has evolved to block and limit access to beneficial information to students. Schools are filtering key topics portent to current society as well as restrict access to information which can help students make informed choices and opinions. Therefore we ask ourselves what kind of websites should be restricted to students. I personally have had several experiences with censorship. One example occurred while in high school. I wanted to conduct a research paper on the topic of breast cancer. Although I found this matter of much interest and relevance in my life, I could not fulfill all the requirements because I was not able to gather all the information needed to write an essay on this specific topic. Censorship would not allow me to research my topic because it contained the word “breast” in it. For my school, it was more important to restrict me from the slight chance of seeing a breast, than to gather relevant information from the internet about a disease which could affect me for the rest of my life.
In my first source, “the Elephant in the Room” by Mary Ann Bell first starts out by introducing the negative effect of censorship by stating,” filters go against everything we stand for-providing free access to information” (Bell, 40). Bell’s problems with censoring often occur when guidelines are instituted and not every single teacher, parent, or student is completely pleased, this eventually leaves school boards with less and less leniency towards making new decisions. Consequently, the more censorship becomes a concern, the fewer students are permitted to do, say, and most importantly learn. However, concerns arise in the cyberspace world accessing information when Theresa Marcoft from “Safety First: Managing the Internet in School” states, “to provide effective protection for students in cyberspace, you need a tool that actually can look over every student’s shoulder at once” (Marcroft,2). Marcoft goes on to explain the inappropriate behaviors such as sex, drugs, alcohol, and etc. creates liability risk for not only the teachers but as well for the school. Educators partake in a reasonability that requires them to create a safe and academic environment. Therefore having the ability to prevent physical,