Superintendent Jody Goeler released a statement today responding to the charge that a Woodbury school discriminates against conservative and pro-life websites by blocking them.
Andrew Lampart, a senior at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, told his local Fox station that he discovered a clear political bias at his school, based on which websites are blocked.
Click the video below to watch Fox CT coverage:
His initial discovery was that the National Rifle Association’s website was blocked, but not anti-gun websites. But the more websites Lampart tried to reach, the stranger it got.
Lampart checked out websites related to abortion. He discovered that the National Right to Life website was blocked, but not Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro-Choice America’s websites.
Lampart had similar results when checking out religious websites. Christianity.com and the Vatican’s web site were both blocked, but Islam-guide.com was not.
Censorship is Lampart’s concern. He told Fox, “They’re trying to, in my opinion, shelter us from what’s actually going on around the country and around the world by blocking these web sites. It should be the other way around. The web sites should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument.”
Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, sent a letter of protest to the school. “It is alleged that you support censoring students at Nonnewaug High School from accessing the Vatican’s website on the grounds that it promotes ‘hate speech.’ Would you please identify examples of ‘hate speech’ found on the Vatican’s website?”
Lampart discussed the issue with the Superintendent of Woodbury schools, but nothing was done a week later, so Lampart spoke to the Board of Education about it. Board chairman John Chapman told Fox, “It’s not a joking matter in terms of having access to both sides of an issue.”
Chapman sent Fox CT an email saying, “the Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation.”
Superintendent Jody Goeler posted a response this morning to the school’s website, blaming the Dell SonicWall service they use. Goeler wrote, “As interest in this topic has expanded, the district has pressed Dell SonicWall for more information about how websites are assigned to categories and why there are apparent inconsistencies, as discovered by the student, in classifications particularly along conservative and liberal lines.”
Goeler added, “The district is trying to determine the reason for the inconsistency and if the bias is pervasive enough to justify switching to another content filtering provider.”
Goeler concluded her letter saying, “Once we receive a statement from Dell SonicWall clarifying its process for assigning websites to categories, I will post it on our website for your review at www.ctreg14.org.
LifeNews will follow this story closely and keep you informed on the latest.
If the censorship is actually coming from the school, it wouldn’t be the first time a school has censored pro-life groups. As LifeNews reported this February, Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington was guilty of the posters that their Students for Life club made.
The administration stated that the school policy only allows posters that “do not offend staff or students, put others down if they have a different belief/opinion, or otherwise cause disruption.” WSFL’s posters, the administration maintained, would violate this policy because they promote a message rather than solely promoting the group’s meetings.
Despite this policy, however, the administration has permitted the Wilson Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) to hang flyers, for example, promoting homosexual relationships by showing conjoined male symbols and conjoined female symbols and stating “Love knows no limits.”
This seems to be a clear violation of the federal Equal Access Act, which requires that schools give each student group the same opportunities, without discriminating against any group