According to the account of a Connecticut high school student, his school systematically blocks websites based on partisan ideology. Eighteen-year-old Andrew Lampart said he discovered a disparity in Internet access when working on a report last month.
While attempting to research the issue of gun control, he noticed the National Rifle Association’s website was blocked on Nonnewaug High School computers. At that point, Lampart said he decided to see if sites expressing an anti-Second Amendment view were accessible.
“And I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance,” he recalled, “and I could get on these websites but not the others.”
Disturbed by the inequity, the senior embarked on an investigation to determine whether the bias was more widespread. In the end, he found some compelling evidence.
“I immediately found out that the state Democrat website was unblocked,” he reported, “but the state GOP website was blocked.”
He then began to look at specific issues, such as abortion. While groups that provide and encourage abortion – including Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America – were accessible, Lampart said sites for pro-life groups were blocked.
The same inconsistency was found in the pursuit of religious information, he noted. He could reach sites like Islam-Guide.com; however, Christianity.com and other related online destinations were inaccessible.
Lampart reached the conclusion that what he experienced is not a coincidental occurrence.
“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 websites,” he asserted. “It should be the other way around.”
He determined that the censored sites “should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument.”
After the district superintendent failed to act within a week of being notified, Lampart said he took the case to the Education Board this week. Chairman John Chapman expressed his intention to take a serious look at the student’s allegations.
“It’s not a joking matter in terms of having access to both sides of an issue,” he said. “The Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation.”
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.