“I immediately found out that the State Democrat web site was unblocked but the State GOP web site was blocked...,” [said Lampart].
Lampart even looked at Web sites focusing on abortion issues and religion. He found that “right-to-life” groups were blocked by the public school firewall but that Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America were not. He also tried to get on web sites such as Christianity.com and the Vatican’s web site but both were blocked. Islam-guide.com he found, was not.
[Lampart] decided to take his concerns to the Board of Education on Monday [June 9].“It’s not a joking matter in terms of having access to both sides of an issue,” Board Chairman John Chapman told WTIC.“The Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation,” Chapman explained.
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. Many of the liberal sites accessible to the student fell into the “not rated” category, which was unblocked while many of the conservative sites were in the “political/advocacy group” which is accessible to teachers but not to students. 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. The district does not block individual sites, only categories of websites. The categories are supposed to be inclusive of all sites that fall into a common description.... 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.