Got Milk? Why, Yes, We Have Harvey Milk

Yesterday morning, a sixth grader in California gave a report in one of her classes. That might not sound like terribly exciting news, except that the report was about Harvey Milk, and the student only got to give her report after the ACLU threatened her school with a lawsuit for censoring it.

Natalie Jones, a sixth grader at Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona, California, had been given a class assignment to write a report on any subject she wanted. Natalie got a score of 49 out of a possible 50 points on her report about the gay civil rights icon. Students were then told to make PowerPoint presentations about their reports, which they would show to other students in the class. Natalie put together a 12-page presentation on Milk that you can view here.

But the day before Natalie was to give her presentation she was called into the principal's office and told she couldn't do so. Then the school sent letters to parents of students in the class, explaining that Natalie's presentation was being rescheduled for a lunch recess and that students could only attend if they had parental permission due to the allegedly “sensitive” nature of the topic. School officials tried to justify all of this by claiming Natalie's presentation triggered the school's sex education policy.

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After the ACLU threatened to sue them for violating the First Amendment as well as the California Education Code, school officials finally backed down. Natalie has received a written apology, and school officials sent a letter about that apology to all the parents who got the original “warning” about the presentation. The school also agreed to bring its sex education policy into compliance with state law, and acknowledged that the mere mention of a person's sexual orientation isn't enough to invoke sex education policy. And perhaps most important of all, Natalie gave her presentationto the entire class Thursday morning.

Natalie's mom Bonnie tells us it went really well. She's terribly proud of Natalie, and we are too. But I suspect Harvey, if he were around today, might be proudest of all.

CORRECTION: The title has been amended to better clarify the subject of the this blog post.

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Paen

Good for Natalie and I hope that the school administraters have learnt their lesson.

Roberta Dees

I just want to tell Natalie that she did a great job on her presentation!

Mary Ann Maikish

I found this inspiring and full of hope!!!

Ken George

I am grateful for all the good work you do to protect our civil liberties.
This was a great example.
Thanks again.

Lucila Conde

I applaud Natalie and her mother for not giving up on this. I loved the presentation, I wish I could see it as well as hear your oral presentation on the subject! Thank you for helping the adults in your school community learn this great lesson too Natalie!

Vic Livingston

CENSORSHIP VIA GOVERNMENT INTERNET FILTERING INDIVIDUAL INTERNET USERS IS ALIVE AND WELL -- AND THE ACLU HAS YET TO CONFRONT THE ISSUE

Some months ago, this writer, a former editor of TV/Radio Age and CableVision magazines, television industry trade journals, found he no longer could post commentary to articles on the web site of Broadcasting and Cable, the "bible" of the industry.

This occurred in the wake of a series of commentaries in which I advocated a delay in the "digital TV transition" deadline -- a deadline that subsequently was pushed back after a deluge of adverse publicity about the possible "disenfranchisement" from broadcast television of thousands of viewing households that were unprepared for the switch to digital.

Around the same time, I found that I was "banned" from making commentaries to articles on Politico.com, a major political web site. I had published as commentary an article advocating the delay in the digital TV deadline, along with articles critical of the government's role in creating and maintaining a "vigilante" citizen army that allegedly is violating the civil and human rights of unjustly "targeted" Americans.

Now, months later, I continue to be blocked from posting comments to articles on both Broadcasting and Cable and Politico.com. In the same of Broadcasting and Cable, I have been told by editors there that they cannot determine why my posts are not getting through. In the case of Politico, I was told on the phone by someone who identified themselves as a Politico representative that I was banned due to making multiple postings of the same material. Yet months later, the ban remains in place, despite the fact that many other readers continue to make multiple posts on Politico threads.

I believe what's happening is government CENSORSHIP emanating out of a Homeland Security- administered "fusion center," in my case, the installation in Newtown, PA. I believe that officials involved in telecommunications policy led to the imposition of a "filter" that blocks my posts to Broadcasting and Cable -- possibly because my commentary was effective in helping to persuade Congress to delay the digital TV deadline.

As for the continuing ban from Politico.com, I believe that government officials may have pressured management there to maintain by banning, despite the fact that other readers have have made multiple postings are not subject to such a permanent injunction.

I believe my case shows that certain agencies of the U.S. government are using regional "fusion centers" as a mechanism to impose prior restraint and censorship upon the telecommunications of "targeted" (in my case, unjustly targeted) individuals and families.

This draconian policy is clearly unconstitutional and must be brought to the attention of officials of both the Obama administration and Congress.

Laura Minnick

To Vic Livingston:

Your post has nothing to do with the story above. And the political websites you've been 'banned' from posting on are not public or governmental entities. They can ban you if they want to. Last I knew, the ACLU isn't interested in conspiracy theorists. Why don't you post your story over at RedState or Free Republic? They love that sort of thing.

Anonymous

To: "Laura Minnick"

The posting above is about government censorship -- the misuse of "fusion centers" to exercise censorship, prior restraint, and even alleged malicious interference and tampering with telecommunications.

And I believe the "banning" I have experienced is a result of government-initiated action or pressure. Censorship by proxy is censorship nonetheless.

Conspiracy theorists? How about truth-tellers? Isn't that way you are so dogged in your protestations?

Have a nice day. Your attempt at spreading disinformation is noted.

I especially like the double-reverse of identifying me with right-wing web sites. Very disingenuous indeed.

But lame psy ops. Is that the best you can do?

Vic Livingston

To: "Laura Minnick"

The posting above is about government censorship -- the misuse of "fusion centers" to exercise censorship, prior restraint, and even alleged malicious interference and tampering with telecommunications.

And I believe the "banning" I have experienced is a result of government-initiated action or pressure. Censorship by proxy is censorship nonetheless.

Conspiracy theorists? How about truth-tellers? Isn't that way you are so dogged in your protestations?

Have a nice day. Your attempt at spreading disinformation is noted.

I especially like the double-reverse of identifying me with right-wing web sites. Very disingenuous indeed.

But lame psy ops. Is that the best you can do?

Mona

Why the ACLU should shut up and butt out?
1) No sense of good and bad
2) No sense of when to leave other institutions alone
3) No sense to look at both sides of the issue
The ACLU does not care about Americans. They care about themselves and how to improve their policial influence in changing America to fit their philosophy. Which I might add is not in the interest of the majority of Americans.
Please rethink before supporting the ACLU until you have the chance to learn more about this organizations secrets. America depends on smart informed Americans like you. Please do not drink the coolade.

The ACLU was wrong to push their agenda on the "milk" presentation. Who do they think they are? I and many other parents would not want my young child to hear about the life of a gay man at such a young age. Let the people (parents) decide what is best for their child, not a political organization like the ACLU!

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