TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Schools Prohibit Personal E-mail Sites

Re: Schools Prohibit Personal E-mail Sites
6 Jun 2005 06:58:28 -0700

Fred Atkinson wrote:

> I ask you what is the difference between reading about it on the
> Internet and reading about it in a library? Would you advocate
> removing books like that from the library simply because *you* think
> that they don't 'need' to read them? And it's a damned sight better
> thing for a kid to be doing with his or her time than getting involved
> with the wrong crowd or worse.

You must remember that the contents of libraries have always been
"censored", though perhaps the better word is "selected".

For younger readers, books are selected appropriate to their reading
skill as well as their age. Most 12 year olds would not know what to
do with ancient literature written in the original Greek or Latin, and
such books would be inappropriate for them.

A second consideration is book quality. There are lots and lots of
books out there on any given subject, including "vanity" books
published by the authors themselves. Quality varies dramatically.
Libraries attempt (not always successfully) to use generally respected
and quality works.

Lastly, some common sense is applied. Should a children's or school
library really contain books on bomb-making or other extremely intense

As to the Internet: There is a great deal of mis-information out
there, some of it even dangerous. Anybody can set up a site and put
anything they want on it; that by no means makes it authoritative or
appropriate. Even legitimate organizations screw up on their Internet
sites by failing to keep the information timely and accurate.

> Sorry to come down on you this hard, but limiting student access to
> information simply because we think they don't 'need' access to it
> is a pretty short sighted opinion for an educator to take.

As mentioned, student "access" is already quite limited in many ways.

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