Blocked in Palm Beach County School District?

It's a long ways from Portland, Oregon to Palm Beach County, Florida - in more ways than one.

I recently received the following email from a student in one of the county's schools:

"SUBJECT: Your Site Blocked: Just recently we were doing a project on logos in my computer graphics class and when I tried entering your site I realized it had been blocked with the reason: Gay/Lesbian oriented. I'm a student in high school and I was pretty upset because I love your site and their is nothing offensive or obscene on it. No reason at all for it to be blocked from all Palm Beach county students. Well, just thought I'd let you know. Take care."

I was initially kind of stunned - until I took into consideration the politics and other issues in the State of Florida. Still, I was curious about how the school district would explain the situation. I sent the following email to Nat Harrington, the Chief Public Information Officer in the Public Affairs office of The School District of Palm Beach County:

I recently received the following email from one of your students: (and I included the text of the above message) I was wondering if you could shed some light on this situation?

I am a gay individual. Some of the logos featured on my site are for Gay/Lesbian organizations. However, my site - often used by school districts for educational purposes - is not a specifically "Gay/Lesbian oriented" web presence. In addition, my book "The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success" is now used for educational purposes in many high school and college classrooms. With exposure to my book, and articles written for web sites and magazines, many students then wish to visit my site for additional information and design inspiration.

Thank you for any feedback you may be able to provide.

This morning I got what appears to be a somewhat stock response, without the courtesy of even a salutation or signature, from Mr. Harrington. Very simply, the message stated:

The decision to block in these types of cases are related more to security and age-appropriate access than to curriculum. Students as young as first graders are using the District's computers and have access to the Internet. There is no way of segregating high schools from elementary schools for Internet usage. Thanks.

I don't know that the response really addresses my question - but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

© 2005 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives


Scott said...

Jeff, I'd push it further. Perhaps asking for a more formal response. Ask several people within the district. Someone is going to mess up and send you a real response. Then, post the damn thing and make them look really stupid!
Love you Babe!
Scott Jensen

jojo said...

ha.. typical WPB school board crap... I agree push it.. And i live in West palm too... The whole county is bit nonsensical...

JOJO (from gddg yahoo group)....

ps... stumbled onto your blog, no wonder your not on the group much...grin.