While conducting an Internet search for his classroom debate on gun control, Andrew Lampart's attempts to access some websites on his school computer were unsuccessful.
To start with, the senior at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, said he couldn't access the National Rifle Association's website.
“So, I went over to the other side," the 18-year-old told WTIC-TV in Hartford. "And I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these websites but not the others."
Lampart investigated further — what about his state's political parties?
“I immediately found out that the State Democrat website was unblocked but the State GOP website was blocked,” he told WTIC.
Lampart said he tried websites focusing on abortion issues and religion — and what was seeming like a trend continued.
National Right to Life's site? Blocked. Sites for Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America? Accessible. Christianity.com and the Vatican’s website? Blocked. But Islam-guide.com? Accessible. Lampart provided WTIC screen printouts of blocked and unblocked sites.
"The firewall was very one sided with what it blocked and what it was unblocking," he told WTIC, adding that TheBlaze.com was among the blocked sites.
“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," Lampart told WTIC. "It should be the other way around. The websites should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument."
Lampart took his concerns to the Board of Education on Monday, noting what he found was "appalling."
The chairman seemed to take Lampart's concerns to heart. “It’s not a joking matter in terms of having access to both sides of an issue,” replied John Chapman, adding later in an email to WTIC that “the Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation.”
TheBlaze on Wednesday reached out to Superintendent Jody Goeler for more information. He replied saying:
This is what has occurred up to this point:
- A student brought to my attention that sites appeared to be filtered based upon political bias.
- I immediately brought this concern to our IT department to get more information on the filtering process.
- District leadership is following up with Dell Sonic Wall at this time to evaluate the complaint and provide an appropriate corrective action on their end.
It continues to be of prime importance to all of us that all students and staff have access to a broad view of ideas and a wide range of resources. We need to know that the content filtering service we choose is unbiased and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure this.