As is the case for many teachers, the Web-filtering system in place at his school has been a major source of frustration for Bud. He points out that when it comes to potentially objectionable material, there’s a big difference between how schools treat online content and other classroom materials.
If you want to keep or remove a book from a school in most Colorado school districts, there's a written policy to follow. It outlines very specifically what happens when something is challenged and what the criteria are for removal. But when it comes to a website, it seems that IT people get to decide. When I've asked around in two northern Colorado school districts, I've been pointed to vague board policies, not specific criteria for what gets blocked and what doesn't. One district told me that they do have some criteria, but that they wouldn't share them with me... At what point are we censoring and not filtering? And why are we treating websites differently from books? And why aren't we angry about this?
Rather than just complain, Bud’s trying to get a sense of what filtering policies are like nationwide. It’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with -- assuming, that is, that anyone can access his writings from a school-based network, since many block all weblogs by default...
(From Bud the Teacher.)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.