Recently it was brought to the attention of the Arizona Department of Education that school districts in the state have partnered with EBSCO, an on-line data base students use for research. Unfortunately, kids can easily access pornographic or obscene material with just a password and a few clicks. Each district makes its own decisions, but we thought the new Superintendent of Arizona schools, Kathy Hoffman, would want to address this danger since she has been touting transparency in her department.
We are happy to say Ms. Hoffman’s department responded promptly when we emailed our concern. They asked us to send screenshots which we did. In less than 24 hours we were told the case was closed:
In the Department’s defense, this is a local school district issue. However, since it is illegal to distribute obscene material to children in public schools we were hoping the Arizona Department of Education would use the local media along with social media to alert parents to the situation. The Department could also communicate with the states’ local school boards; the board members likely don’t realize what their students are accessing. Instead there is silence. Obviously this will take action from many parents, district by district, to force any changes.
Just a few weeks ago, EBSCO was added to an updated Dirty Dozen list provided by the National Center of Sexual Exploitation. The connection with EBSCO did not surface under Kathy Hoffman’s tenure, but this would have been a great opportunity for her to protect students, follow Arizona law, and earn the trust of parents.