Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Vermont high school bans blogging

Thanks to Darren for a link to this newspaper article that explains why a school has banned blogging.
Rutland Herald: "Officials at Proctor Jr.-Sr. High School have banned access from school computers to an Internet site that students have been using to post to weblogs, or blogs.

Principal Chris Sousa said the decision to block the site from school was made because blogging is not an educational use of school computers.

But he's also urging parents to keep tabs on their children's blogging, with a particularly close eye to what personal information the student may be posting on sites like Myspace.com.

'It's not so much a school concern as it is an issue for students and parents,' he said. 'This site particularly was getting a lot of hits. It's a blog site but they also post pictures and biographical information and then send each other notes.'

He added, 'My concern is less as a principal and more as a dad.'"

It isn't clear to me from the actual article if all blog sites are being banned or if it is just the Myspace one that is named in the article. It sounds like just Myspace, but the headline and the views expressed would seem to include all blog sites. (If anyone knows for sure, I would appreciate you letting me know.)

Now, I can agree with the principal that there are concerns when children are online, and those concerns may be greater when we discuss blogging because children might disclose personal information that would make them vulnerable. What I have trouble with, though, is the idea that the solution is to ban it. Why not teach students how to blog safely? But that obviously wouldn't work for Sousa if he believes that "blogging is not an educational use of school computers" as the article contends. This is the most unsettling of his statements to me.

I wonder if any teachers at the school had their students blogging before this edict came down. I would guess they didn't. And now, of course, it would be almost impossible to start. That is really too bad. I would hope that some teacher in Rutland would be willing to invest the time and effort required to look at some of the great blogs written by students and the class blogs that are out there if for no other reason than to be able to demonstrate to Principal Sousa that there are educational uses of blogs.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I think that often times in our society we approach problems with a polarized mentality. Instead of teaching kids how to safely blog, we outlaw it altogether. It's black or white!

I believe that this school is sending a negative message to the students, namely, that they should fear blogs insted of learning how to make them work for educational purposes.