Nicole Bolla ‘20, Opinion Editor
School is a place where young people come to chase the pursuit of knowledge, to experience new things, and grow as people. It is a place where students learn not only how to survive in the working world, but also how to be themselves. However, it is difficult to learn anything when the place that is supposed to teach us about the world shelters us from it to an unhealthy degree. The online administrative blocker has barred students from gaining useful and valuable information for too long, and expecting students to work around this ever-expanding internet blockade is utterly ridiculous.
The school implements the administrative blocker in order to keep students from stumbling upon websites or images that are deemed unsafe for school; while this is acceptable, blocking necessary websites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB that severely impede the actions of the curriculum is not. With the new Film as Literature class in its first year at South Lyon High School, getting around the admin blocker to access critical movie reviews for projects and worksheets is a chore. “It’s ridiculous!” Film as a Literature teacher Mrs. Brittany Smithkort said. “I have tried to get them to unblock them, but they use the same admin for all schools including elementary schools. It would be nice if they could separate them by age.” This is strange because one would think that by implementing a new film class, the school would be promoting outside the box thinking and interests, but the censorship of completely credible websites says otherwise.
Some may argue and say that students will use the computers for online games instead of work. They may not know, however, that every computer in the school has the video game Minecraft: Education Edition on it, and that the school had to pay for it. The hand-eye coordination and skills learned in Minecraft: Education Edition are very similar to the skills built and gained when playing on websites like CoolMathGames.com, and for many students, these websites were a source of post-webquest entertainment. A quote from the National Council of Teachers and Mathematics says that “Engaging mathematical games can also encourage students to explore number combinations, place value, patterns, and other important mathematical concepts. Further, they afford opportunities for students to deepen their mathematical understanding and reasoning.” Not only are math games helpful to children, but with constant faculty supervision, students have used the prospect of online games only after work is completed.
This absurd censorship even affects the writers of this very newspaper. The Lions’ Roar staff often has trouble finding reliable and easily decipherable websites to pull information from for their articles. “Whenever I’m writing papers, whether in the newspaper or out of the newspaper, it’s difficult to gather information without running into the website blocker. It only shelters the students; much like…a dictatorship,” junior and Lions’ Roar feature editor Violet Van Fleet said. Other members of the newspaper agree. “Anything with Facebook or the community is blocked; I’m doing an article on eating disorders and a lot of credible sources that talk about eating disorders are blocked,” sophomore and Lions’ Roar entertainment editor Darby O’Donnell said. With all of this censorship, it is a wonder that the Lions’ Roar has any dependable sources to pull from at all.
The world is ever-changing, and the way that people learn is constantly evolving, but the administrative blocker that is supposed to keep students from stumbling upon non school-safe content has become a wall, and this wall is never ending in its expansion and shows no signs of slowing; it is truly a Winchester House of censorship. As this blockade continues to grow, all the student body can do is advocate for their right to learn and demand for something to be done about this foolish and unnecessary information barrier, and if the school does not bend, they can not continue to claim that broadening students’ horizons is their top priority.
Photo courtesy of naeyc.org