One of the lessons that Andrew Lampart learned from being on his school’s debate team was to gather facts for both sides of an argument. So last month when his law class was instructed to prepare for a debate on gun control, Andrew went online using the school’s Internet service.
“I knew it was important to get facts for both sides of the case,” said the 18-year-old at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut.
When Andrew tried to log onto the National Rifle Association’s website, he realized there was a problem – a big problem.
“Their website was blocked,” he told me. Andrew decided to try the Second Amendment Foundation’s website. That too, was blocked.
[audio-clip] His curiosity got the best of him – so Andrew tried logging on to several pro-gun control websites. Imagine his surprise when he discovered the pro-gun control websites were not blocked.
“I became curious as to why one side was blocked and the other side was not,” he said.
Andrew decided to set aside his debate preparation and started researching other conservative websites. He soon discovered that he had unfettered access to liberal websites, but conservative websites were blocked.
For example, the Connecticut Republican Party website was blocked. The Connecticut Democratic Party website was not blocked. National Right to Life was blocked, but Planned Parenthood was not blocked. Connecticut Family, a pro-traditional marriage group, was blocked, but LGBT Nation was not blocked.
Andrew found that even Pope Francis was blocked from the school’s web service. But although he could not access the Vatican website, the school allowed him to access an Islamic website.
“This is really border line indoctrination,” Andrew told me. “Schools are supposed to be fair and balanced towards all ways of thinking. It’s supposed to encourage students to formulate their own opinions. Students aren’t able to do that here at the school because they are only being fed one side of the issue.”
Andrew gathered his evidence and requested a meeting with the principal. The principal referred him to the superintendent, which he did. The superintendent promised to look into the matter and fix the problem.
“I gave him a week to fix the problem,” Andrew said. “But nothing had been done.”
So last Monday, Andrew took his mountain of evidence to the school board.
“They seemed surprised,” he said. “They told me they were going to look into the problem.”
Since the school board didn’t resolve the problem, I decided to take a crack at it.
Superintendent Jody Goeler sent me a rather lengthy letter explaining what happened.
He admitted there are “apparent inconsistencies” in the school district’s filtering system “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’ category which is accessible to teachers but not to students,” he said in a written statement. “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.”
I find it hard to believe the superintendent needs more evidence to make that determination.
“The district does not block individual sites, only categories of websites,” he wrote. “The categories are supposed to be inclusive of all sites that fall into a common description.”
Without getting into the weeds here, the school district is blaming the blocking on Dell SonicWall, their content filtering service. They said they are waiting for Dell SonicWall to clarify its process for assigning websites to categories.
Dell SonicWall did not return my telephone call so I can’t tell you whether the district’s statement is the gospel truth or baloney. But something smells fishy.
Superintendent Goeler said they have “an interest in exposing students to a wide and varying number of viewpoints."
“The district does engage in unblocking sites to provide diverse points of view and balance in the instructional process,” he wrote.
Pardon me, sir, but that’s a load of unadulterated, Grade-A hooey.
The National Rifle Association, Red State, SarahPac.com, National Right to Life, Second Amendment Foundation, Paul Ryan for Congress, Town Hall, TeaParty.org, ProtectMarriage.com, and Christianity.com are just some of the websites the school blocked.
And they still remain blocked.
“The thing that bothers me the most is that public education is supposed to be neutral,” Andrew said. “It’s supposed to expose kids to both sides of an issue and allow them to formulate their own opinions.”
Andrew has discovered the issue I write about in my new book, “God Less America.” Public schools have become leftwing indoctrination centers.
“Students are only being given information from one side of the issue,” he said. “They are told this is the information we are giving you – make the most of it. They are not giving them both sides of the argument.”
Andrew Lampart has done his community and his nation a great public service by exposing the politically correct firewall that was erected at Nonnewaug High School.
And now we must do our part and demand a free exchange of ideas not just in Woodbury, Connecticut, but around the nation.
Mr. Superintendent, tear down this wall!
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.