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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership

Brought to you by CoSN

Consortium Offers Unfiltered Advice on Filtering Software

By Rebecca S. Weiner

December 6, 2000

As Congress continues to grapple with the issue of requiring schools and libraries to install Internet filtering software, a group of school technology administrators is offering unfiltered advice on what educators can do to safeguard students online.

The Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse initiative, launched by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), is intended to provide school leaders with general guidelines for evaluating Internet protections. The group's Executive Director, Keith Krueger, said the framework allows local educators to find the protections appropriate for their school and community.

Krueger said that school administrators are often bombarded with pitches from filtering companies, but lack an unbiased way to judge the offerings.

The consortium, which Krueger said does not advocate mandatory filtering, has established the framework to give educators a "vendor-neutral" process by which to make decisions about the various software options available.

The framework is not a reaction to Congress' continued work on legislation that would require all schools and libraries receiving federal technology funds to install Internet filters, Krueger said. The Internet filtering provision is part of a larger spending bill Congress is expected to consider within the next few weeks.

Congressional sponsors of the Internet filtering provision say local control would be maintained because school officials could still control what type of filtering software and the extent to which they filter under the proposed legislation. At a minimum, the filters must block obscenity, child pornography, and material harmful to minors. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the sponsors of the filtering provision, said he would fight to include the provision in an Education Department spending bill, despite a veto threat from the White House.

2006 Consortium for School Networking. All rights reserved.