Earlier this week, The Daily Caller reported on a Connecticut high school senior who discovered that his taxpayer-funded school’s Internet firewall was censoring the state Republican Party, the National Rifle Association’s homepage, anti-abortion groups and even the Vatican.
The school district superintendent, Jody Ian Goeler, has now tried to explain himself. It’s not pretty.
“The district is trying to determine the reason for the inconsistency and if bias is pervasive enough to justify switching to another content filtering provider,” Goeler said, according to a press release obtained by TheDC.
This stance is a slight improvement from the superintendent’s previous position. The Nonnewaug High School senior, Andrew Lampart, said Goeler had previously informed him that some political sites and, apparently, the Vatican must be blocked to prevent “hate speech” from seeping into the school. (RELATED: Conn. School Censors Vatican, Clears Planned Parenthood)
The controversy flared up after Lampart conducted research for an in-class debate on gun control. The NRA’s website was blocked, he said. However, a host of anti-gun sites remained easily accessible.
Lampart said he then expanded his search and found additional red flags. Connecticut’s Republican Party’s website was blocked, for example, while the state Democratic Party’s wasn’t. Pro-life groups like the National Right to Life were blocked, but not Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro-Choice America. Even Christianity.com and the Vatican’s homepage fell on the wrong side of the digital barrier, though islam-guide.org and al-islam.org (both top Google search results for “Islam”) went unscathed.
Goeler has suggested that the political censorship is the result of a technological glitch caused by Dell SonicWALL, the Regional School District No. 14.
Dell SonicWALL labeled the off-limits websites as impermissible “Political/Advocacy Groups” sites.
The superintendent has said he has sought an explanation from Dell for the censorship of conservatives and Catholics.
He has made no commitment to change anything, though.
Bill Donohue, who heads the Catholic League, a national anti-defamation group, has been on the case.
“Just how many websites of a ‘conservative’ – or for that matter a ‘liberal’ nature have to be blocked to merit a change?” Donohue asked. “And how many Catholic websites have to be censored before action is taken?”