I was sitting in the auditorium at Mercer Island High School last night at a presentation for parents of incoming ninth graders, when the school’s WiFi network popped up as a connection option on my iPhone. So I thought, what the hell, why not try it out and see if HA would load.
I already knew that the middle school’s network blocked HA, but I didn’t think much of it considering my occasional foul language, and the age of the students. But high school, well, there isn’t much four letter vocabulary I could teach kids that age. Yet sure enough, HA was blocked there too.
Ah well, no worry, I’ll be starting at The Stranger tomorrow so I guess my daughter and her friends could always read me there… but alas, The Stranger is blocked too. The Seattle Times loads fine, as does the P-I, two sites the average high schooler is unlikely to want to read, but The Stranger—a publication whose content might be remotely relevant to teenagers—no, that would be inappropriate. What are we trying to keep our kids safe from… quality writing?
And, of course, that’s the problem with censorship at any level. You could make an argument that some of the language in some of my posts is inappropriate for in-school reading, or that some parents may be offended by the blunt discourse of Savage Love, but in the process you’re tossing out a lot of insightful reporting and beautiful writing about art, music, philosophy and whatnot. Personally, I’m offended by the lies of omission that populate the Seattle Times op/ed pages, so why shouldn’t the high school ban their site too? Cater to every perceived offense, and I guess the district shouldn’t provide internet access at all.
Just seems kinda silly for an institution tasked with helping our teenagers grow into adults, to treat their students like little children.