WOW is issuing a WARNING to all parents with school age children, that po*rn purveyors have pushed explicit material into the digital pages of our schools that almost all students have access to.
This is how it works. Schools, both public and private, online and charter, purchase online library resources. It is akin to the old fashioned reference section of the library. One leading supplier across the nation is acronymed EBSCO. Colleges, universities and libraries also purchase from them, which allows all students and patrons access. The problem is these online reference centers are filled with hardcore p*rnography.
WOW began an investigation into this and within 3 hours was able to document around 8,000 explicit images, articles and advertisements. This raises many questions such as Why are s*x ads in the student reference library? Much of the explicit so -called reference material comes from sales magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamor, Marie Claire, and many others within this closed system.
Every student in Utah, whether elementary, middle or high school, who has online access at school also has access to EBSCO through the Utah Education Network. As a matter of fact, it is a recommended place for research, and often preferred above a direct internet search for being safer. This is not true. Schools generally have filters for the internet, but because these reference libraries are a closed system, they CAN NOT BE FILTERED. As a matter of fact, when the reference library is searched the only URL that appears is the reference library name.
WOW discovered that EBSCO is listed as one of the National Center of Sexual Exploitation’s Dirty Dozen. You can link to their website for more detailed and graphic information and access to some great action items. https://endsexualexploitation.org/ebsco/
Two other news stories have recently broken about the EBSCO database problem in Colorado and Kansas as well.
WOW is currently working to get the UEN to sever ties with EBSCO. Nicholeen Peck was able to interview with KTVU channel 2 news in Utah. Link to that interview:
UEN said in a statement that they will continue to leave EBSCO available over the weekend, and have contacted EBSCO about the explicit material. This is not a satisfactory response. Ray Timothy, CEO of UEN was unavailable for an interview until Monday or Tuesday. Please contact UEN 801 581 6991, [email protected] , your local school, your school board and your legislator and let them know this will not be tolerated in UTAH.
Update on This Situation:
The UEN held a special board meeting on October 1, 2018 just to discuss the EBSCO issue and intended at that time to vote to re-enable the database resource for schools after it had been disabled for about a week and a half. There were 8 of the board who were able to attend the meeting. The 6 men voted to keep EBSCO out of schools until it could be proven safe. The 2 women voting didn’t protect children well. The representative for the state school board, Patty Norman, abstained from the vote because the school board had a split opinion. And, Colleen Eggett, the head of Utah libraries and the Utah Online Library, which hosts EBSCO, said that children had a first amendment right to see whatever they want, and that it is up to parents to teach children what to do if they come across something bad.
Colleen claimed no responsibility for protecting children or honoring parental rights to keep their children safe when in public. She said the problem was 30% a technology problem and 70% a problem with children not being taught skills by their parents. This claim is very concerning. First, if I governed over any product that had 30% of the blame in hurting my customers, I would pull the product and fix it immediately. That is a very large percentage. Is she saying that 30% of the database is problematic? Second, everyone concerned, parents, students, and teachers, were all told the databases were safe because they were not linked to the internet. The items in the database had to be intentionally put there. So, to put 70% of the blame on parents and teachers is a shift of the blame.
This claim that access to pornography on a public computer is a first amendment right is something the ALA [American Library Association] made up. It is not actually a right. Just as a person doesn’t have the right to scream fire in a crowded movie theatre when there isn’t a fire because it can endanger other people, pornography on a public computer that children have access to is not a right.
WOW blames the ALA for the faulty thinking of Ms. Eggett, and does not see the ALA as a trusted authority on keeping children safe, especially since the ALA has been trying to undermine the Child Internet Protection Act [CIPA] laws since 2001. They even went as far as to sue the government as well as create a day of the year called Banned Internet Sites Day and create their own library bill of rights. The ALA is acting as if they are their own government and that the government owes them respect, instead of the reverse.
Parents, please don’t allow your children to access library databases without you there, and speak up against databases at the schools in your area too that might be subjecting your children to pornography. Do some checking. And, tell other parents.
We commend the UEN for voting to keep EBSCO disabled for the time being and for their efforts to keep pushing toward cleaning up the pornography problem on school databases. Even an article in the EBSCO database titled “Top 10 Security Risk Factors for Public and Academic Libraries” said that pornography being seen at libraries by minors and non-consenting adults was number 4 of their 10 risks. . So, they know about it. The good thing is, now parents know about it too. We must protect the children.
Also, Thursday, October 4, 2018 the Utah State School Board met to vote on what their position would be on the EBSCO databases being reinstated. Even though multiple board members were opposed to the idea, the majority of the school board voted to reinstate EBSCO databases when the vote comes up again at the UEN board meeting. WOW cannot believe that a school board would be so careless with the protection of children’s safety. We don’t feel we can have confidence in a state school board who takes something this serious so lightly. They have more of a duty to protect the children and families of Utah than the interests of a few librarians and teachers.