July 30, 2017

Denver School Districts Remove Pornographic Material From Student Research EBSCO Databases

Excerpt from CBS4 News Article by Mark Ackerman, June 29, 2017

School Districts Remove Objectionable Material From Student Research Databases

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Some Denver area school districts are reevaluating their use of an educational database after a CBS4 investigation found the database could lead students to pornographic and obscene materials.

While a web savvy teenager could likely find this type of material fairly easily online, Paterson said there is a major difference here.

“The difference is we pay for this with our tax dollars,” she said.

EBSCO databases are in 55,000 school districts nationwide. Cherry Creek, where Paterson’s daughter attends, pays $31,000 a year to access the service.

Adams 12 Five Star School District also pays for its students to access EBSCO content. But when it started taking a closer look at what teens could get through EBSCO the district took swift action.

“My reaction to this is absolutely not appropriate for use in our schools,” said Chief Academic Officer Priscilla Straughn. “As soon as we became aware of this we shut the system down.”

Straughn said the district reached out to EBSCO and went through the database to exclude periodicals which “provided opportunities for students to access inappropriate material.”

The Cherry Creek School District, where the Paterson’s daughter attends, also has now taken steps to limit student exposure to inappropriate materials.

“There are some articles in there that I don’t know that middle school kids need to be reading,” said Cherry Creek Superintendent Harry Bull.

Now when Cherry Creek students access EBSCO websites, they have to click on additional waivers and warnings, and other changes have been made.


Further Reading