EBSCO: Exploiting our children for profit
EBSCO is a 3 billion dollar corporation that boasts of providing K-12 research databases to over 50,000 schools nationwide. These databases contain some journal articles and newspaper stories but, in general, have been widely criticized as disjointed and random in their search results. The journal articles appear to be a loss leader for the true product: magazines and advertisements. Yes, schools all over the country are streaming advertising at K-12 kids. And a good deal of this advertisement is adult in content, very adult. There are hundreds of sexually graphic ads for “sex toy” shops, complete with links to the online shop venues. There are sexually graphic articles, images and even links to hard core pornography sites. This obscene material is streamed into K-12 school databases by EBSCO’s publishing clients and include adult “pop culture” magazines such as Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Lesbian News, Glamour, Chatelaine, Ebony, Esquire and other magazines and articles that have absolutely no business in a homework database, and believe me, these are not your supermarket, news rack versions.
What child, ever, used Cosmo as a homework resource?
Our group is networked across the country to expose this horrific problem, and we have thus far identified obscene EBSCO content in school linked databases from 15/15 states that we have been able to investigate, including Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, Nebraska, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Nevada, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey, Minnesota, Kansas, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
Marketed as a Scholarly Datbase But Links to Hard Core Porn Sites From “Academic Journals”
Members of our groups have recently taken a closer look at some of the academic journals contained in EBSCO’s Explora school databases. We have found live links to a myriad of hard core porn, and violent “BDSM” porn sites embedded into the “academic journals” streaming into EBSCO’s K-12 Explora Secondary School databases.
If that’s not bad enough, EBSCO search results are disjointed, repetitive and random. The Emperor truly has no clothes when it comes to EBSCO’s “school products”.
THE OBSCENE FACES OF ESBSCO SCHOOL DATABASES ACROSS THE NATION
What are we teaching our children?
Pornography has been shown to contain heavy themes of misogyny as well as the glamorization of sexual violence. Children exposed to pornography can be harmed – for more details, see the National Center on Sexual Exploitation which has named EBSCO to its 2017 Dirty Dozen list as a major contributor to the sexual exploitation of women and children (http://endsexualexploitation.org/ebsco/ ). As might be predicted in a country where 50,000 schools are streaming EBSCO porn at their students, the rate of student on student violence has reached alarming proportions (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-fellow-students-17-000-reports-4-years-ap-n753106 ). Teacher/student sexual assaults have sky-rocketed. Do these predators use EBSCO as a classroom grooming tool? Do they send students to EBSCO, where they are bound to locate sexually graphic content because it is pushed to the top of the search results, perhaps in the hopes that children will become desensitized and accepting of sexual advances? How else to explain these alarming trends? Every day there is another breaking news story about a teacher who has sexually assaulted a child in their care.
Colorado leads the fight against EBSCO
The prestigious Cherry Creek School District of Colorado recently contacted EBSCO and asked for the ground breaking, “Adams 12 Exclusion Package”. This removes a number of adult, graphic, pop culture magazines which are known to stream obscene content into children’s homework and research databases.
What a fight! It took more than a year. But every school district in the state of Colorado that we have looked at has been identified as infected with EBSCO porn. EBSCO is distributed across the state by the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC). EBSCO was introduced to Colorado through a collaborative venture between the CLiC and the CDE/State Library, although recent attempts to ask the CDE for help led to a scrambling restructure to remove CLiC from the state education umbrella. What are they hiding?
Coloradans can “thank” Gene Hainer of the CDE State Library, and Jim Duncan, Manager of the CLiC, for introducing the EBSCO atrocity to our state.
The CLiC has advertised EBSCO databases to our K-12 institutions as a valuable and appropriate school resource while nothing could be further from the truth. When confronted with the reality, the CLiC denied any responsibility, callously claiming they “just sell” the products and ridiculously claim they bear no responsibility should their school customers misuse the products by allowing students to have access.
Every school district in Colorado was notified almost a year ago, and so was the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), but it appears that, with the exception of Adams 12 and the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD), our leaders have just buried their heads in the sand.
Only two districts that we are aware of have responded and that would be Adams12 and the CCSD. Although they have not solved the problem, they have made a transitional gesture of removing many of the adult magazines that are the worst offenders for streaming obscene content. This is a valuable first step but the problem will not be solved until EBSCO subscriptions are canceled. EBSCO has shown itself to be a thoroughly corrupt corporation that appears to be knowingly, and with full deliberation, exploiting millions of school children nationwide for profit. They can never be trusted and they will always find new and creative means of pushing lucrative advertising for the 95 billion dollar sex industry into our schools, targeting a captive audience of children and minor youth as potential new consumers. We have even located articles that encourage young girls to enter the escort and sex work industry. No, EBSCO can never be trusted again.
There truly is no depth too low for EBSCO to sink in its gluttonous pursuit of profit. The EBSCO name has been sullied beyond repair.
Bryson Stephens, grandson of Founder, Elton Stephens and, apparently, a respected member of his community in Birmingham, the headquarters of EBSCO Industries.
Every concerned parent and taxpayer should contact EBSCO 1 (800) 653-2726 to express their outrage and should also contact their local School District to demand that EBSCO subscriptions be canceled. Don’t let them tell you that they “filter” EBSCO – this is a lie. The Cherry Creek School District tried it with us, and they are on record issuing this misinformation to concerned parents, teachers and reporters who called with concerns. But the truth is out: EBSCO database products are proprietary and cannot be touched by external or top site filters.
If they could have filtered the obscene material, Adams 12 and the Cherry Creek School District would not have created an Exclusion Package. The fact that EBSCO cannot be filtered has been confirmed by A12, the CCSD, the Arapahoe Library District, and EBSCO upper management in private communications. EBSCO even publicly admitted to having “problems” with its school databases in an interview with WBRC Birmingham (http://www.wbrc.com/story/35775174/could-your-kids-find-pornographic-articles-on-school-computers ) and they promised to be working on internal filtering, which we have yet to see. In fact, our most recent information is that EBSCO is planning to dump even more responsibility onto their school customers by asking them to manually, “cherry pick” objectionable articles from K-12 products. Does EBSCO think that more taxpayer money should be squandered to hire a full time cherry-picker to stay on top of the porn streaming into its K-12 databases?
When we spoke with EBSCO management, we were told that the content of the K-12 databases was protected by contractual arrangement with their publishing clients. EBSCO values its publishing clients far more than they value their school customers. These “non-censorship” contracts, that permit streaming of porn and sex toy ads, must be very lucrative to EBSCO. After more than a year of nationwide pressure, and even being named to the Dirty Dozen list, EBSCO adamantly refuses to filter its K-12 products. EBSCO is dedicated to the protection of its publishers and advertisers and appears firmly committed to granting them free ranging, unfettered access to a captive audience that ranges into the hundreds of millions of school children across the U.S., Canada, and other countries.
What’s in it for the schools?
Maybe the million dollar question is this: Why would our schools want to be complicit in EBSCO’s advertising of porn to kids? In Colorado, schools were notified a year ago, and only 2 that we know of have responded, even partially. Are they ashamed to admit there’s a problem? Afraid of legal liability if children have been harmed by exposure to porn through school databases? Are they getting kickbacks? All of the above?
Surely, EBSCO is generous with compensation to its school and library customers. EBSCO hands out grants, incentives, money for trips and awards. Some libraries even receive the $100,000 “solar grant” award each year. EBSCO is linked with the ALA and this country is now waking up to the fact that our “library community” has morphed into something that most adults wouldn’t recognize anymore. In fact, the Director of Intellectual Freedom, Jamie LaRue, was quoted as stating he would be “happy to go pick up [the Dirty Dozen] award” from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2017/07/EBSCO_online_databases_filter_inappropriate_material.html ). He likes EBSCO.
The pressure is mounting
With Colorado beginning to backpedal, now is the time for other states around the country to take a stand. We have confirmed EBSCO porn in 15/ 15 states that we have investigated and we have good reason to believe that it is present in every state across the country. Parents need to understand that the problem is not limited to public schools. We have found EBSCO Porn in private and parochial schools, and homeschooled children do not avoid the assault if they are using public libraries, which peddle EBSCO as “homework” databases, often driving traffic to them with promotions and ads that target minors.
The Arapahoe Library District of Colorado was featured by Mass Resistance (http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen3/17a/CO-middle-school-x-rated/ebsco-database.html and http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen3/17d/MR-CO-confronting-porn-agenda/index.html ) twice during this past year. In Colorado, we are beginning to also turn our attention to several other public libraries in the hopes that we can convince them to clean up or, better yet, cancel their EBSCO sponsorships.
There can be no justification for the egregious assault on the health and safety of our children by EBSCO. Schools and libraries should take the high ground and get rid of EBSCO lest they become morally and legally complicit.
It’s been a struggle but the momentum is building. We will not back down and we encourage others across the country to get involved.