The persistence of a small group of parents in a Colorado school district has paid off – and now the children in their schools won't stumble across graphic sexual content in their school curriculum.
Parents in the Cherry Creek School District fought for two years to have the district end services with EBSCO Information Services, a firm that embeds pornography in its academic databases – which is the reason why the National Center on Sexual Exploitation placed the firm on its "Dirty Dozen List" in 2017 and 2018.
NCOSE reports that "in its advertising for schools, [EBSCO] promises 'fast access to curriculum-appropriate content.' However, its Explora, Science Reference Center, Literary Reference Center, and other products, provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content. Innocent searches provide pornographic results."
Earlier this month – after hearing about EBSCO from angry parents since September 2016 and working with the company to resolve the matter – officials with Cherry Creek School District decided to cancel their contract with the database service. Senior counsel Matt Heffron of the Thomas More Society, which represented those parents, credits them for persevering, despite hostile treatment from the school board.
"At one point, in fact, the superintendent of schools had contacted the police because the parents 'had the audacity' of [revealing what was on] the children's website at a school board meeting," the attorney explains. "And the superintendent contacted the police saying that [the parents] were violating obscenity laws."
Heffron says what this "handful" of parents did should inspire parents around the U.S. to examine the educational materials to which their children are being exposed. "This really, I think, is somewhat inspirational because these parents, to a great extent ...really experienced a lot of hostile treatment – and they didn't give up," he emphasizes.
EBSCO provides materials to more than 55,000 schools nationwide. The pornographic content cannot be blocked with filters because the company's databases are enclosed and not part of the Internet.
According to KUSA in Denver, other Colorado districts dropped EBSCO prior to Cherry Creek's decision. And the debate over such curriculum issues isn't limited to this one Colorado district, says the Thomas More Society. The firm says it has been contacted by parents in other states about related abuses in school "comprehensive" sex-ed programs.