Wednesday, September 29, 2021
To raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries, AASL has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day. On Wednesday, September 29, AASL asks school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning.
Usually the public thinks of censorship in relation to books, however there is a growing censorship issue in schools and school libraries – overly restrictive filtering of educational websites reaching far beyond the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Students, teachers, and school librarians in many schools are frustrated daily when they discover legitimate educational websites blocked by filtering software installed by their school.
Filtering websites does the next generation of digital citizens a disservice. Students must develop skills to evaluate information from all types of sources in multiple formats, including the Internet. Relying solely on filters does not teach young citizens how to be savvy searchers or how to evaluate the accuracy of information.
Over extensive filtering also extends to the use of online social networking sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, etc. In order to make school more relevant to students and enhance their learning experiences, educators need to be able to incorporate those same social interactions that are successful outside of school into authentic assignments in the school setting. Unfortunately, filters implemented by school districts also block many of the social networking sites.
Intellectual Freedom related posts on Knowledge Quest
“Access to Information: Perspectives of a Superintendent and a School Board Member” Knowledge Quest 44, no.1 (September/October 2015), pages 48-53
“Filtering beyond CIPA: Consequences of and Alternatives to Overfiltering in Schools” Knowledge Quest 44, no.1 (September/October 2015), pages 60-66.
"Filtering Texas-Style: An Interview with Michael Gras and Scott Floyd" Knowledge Quest 39, no.1 (September/October 2010), pages 30-37.
"Minors’ First Amendment Rights: CIPA & School Libraries" Knowledge Quest 39, no.1 (September/October 2010), pages 16-21.
"A Tale of Two Students" American Libraries (08/07/2012)
Filtering and the First Amendment by Deborah Caldwell-Stone with "Snapshot of Filtering in School Libraries" by Helen R. Adams
PDF to share with parents: Includes "How School Librarians Can Assist You: Internet Safety" and "Filtering & To Filter or Not: The Pros and Cons of Using Parental Control Software"
“Don’t Filter Me” High School Student Information Gathering Activity
Have high school students try to access selected web sites with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender-related content to check whether their schools’ filters are blocking access to these sites.
The ACLU “Don’t Filter Me” project notes that blocking access to this content while still allowing access to anti-LGBT sites violates students’ First Amendment rights and, at schools that have gay-straight alliance clubs, the federal Equal Access Act which “requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups.”
The AASL Banned Websites Awareness Day logo is available for download and use by educational institutions, or by individuals for educational purposes, under the following guidelines:
- The logo may not be altered. The user is permitted to resize the logo but all markings and the logo in its entirety must be maintained.
If the logo is used for any commercial product permission must be requested formally by contacting AASL.
Click each thumbnail for larger, downloadable image:
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