Brian Milburn
bmilburn@solidoak.com
President,
Solid Oak Software

Dear Mr. Milburn:

In December you added my site, The Ethical Spectacle, http://www.spectacle.org, to Cybersitter's list of blocked sites because of my criticism of your company (see http://www.spectacle.org/alert/cs.html).

Below is a small sampling of the letters I receive every day from teachers and students about my Holocaust compilation, An Auschwitz Alphabet, http://www.spectacle.org/695/ausch.html.

Please read these over and reflect on the following issues:

  1. Why do you think your dislike of criticism is more important than the benefit these students gain from accessing my site?

  2. Why do you think you are more qualified than these teachers to determine what our children should see?

There is a trend beginning in state legislatures to pass legislation mandating that schools buy blocking software. For as long as you continue blocking The Ethical Spectacle, I will share a copy of this correspondence with any school system or university considering purchasing your product.

Here are three of the teachers who have assigned An Auschwitz Alphabet to their classes:

"I just discovered your work online and am impressed! I am teaching a second level composition course thematically based on the Holocaust. I am teaching research writing skills in a computer lab with access to e-mail and the Internet and WWW. Have been surfing around looking for source material for myself and also for places to send the students. Some of them learned a little about the Holocaust in high school, but most are not too aware. Some are of German background and want to know what happened. This is a four year university in Michigan and most of the students are traditional freshmen, although I do have a couple of older students too."

"I just wanted to let you know that I found your site as I was gathering resources to teach a unit on the Holocaust to my middle school students. They will be reading the book Night by Elie Weisel. That will serve as a launching pad into our study. Your site is going to be a fabulous resource. Most of what I have found so far is not very 'kid friendly'. Your site is going to allow them to explore on their own as they learn more about a topic most of them know nothing about. Thanks for providing such a valuable resource."

"I am teaching summer school--US history, 20th Century--and found the Alphabet a powerful tool to convey what must be known about the Holocaust.

"Each student was given a letter to read to the class. A few others read excerpts from the recollections of a child I found on another server. When we were finished, I needed to say no more."

And here are a few of the students from around the world who have written to me:

"I am a tenth grade student in Australia and I would just like to congratulate you on this homepage. This information has been most helpful for an assignment I am doing. So thanks."

"I am an Abilene Christian University student in Texas. I am doing a report over the Holocaust. You information is wonderful and greatly appreciated. Keep it up."

"Hey, I would like to congratulate you on your wonderful page, I am currently in the middle of a huge holocaust project for school, Im in eigth grade and your page helped me the most, I found it to be thorough, clean and very factual. I like it and will reccomend it to many of my friends!! Thank-you for your wonderful service!!"

"I think this is great. I am a 14 year old boy that lives in Indiana. (USA) I really think what you are doing is important. If kids my age aren't told of this tragedy, than it will be forgotten about and the likelier the possibility of it happening again in some shape or form. Thank you."

"I am a college student writing a paper on the happenings in Auschwitz. The pages that I read were enlighting as to what really occured. Many people do not believe in the Holocaust but after my presentation some changed their minds. Thank you for condensing many hours of reading."

"Your Auschwitz Alphabet is amazing. Funny how you can be researching to write a paper and end up reading an entire collection of information that is actually extremely interesting. All I can say is wow. Truly awesome."

"After coming across your page when looking for information for a school research assignment, I was amazed at the information in your 'Auschwitz Alphabet'. It has given me many ideas for my 1000 word essay due next week :-)"

"I am a student at Jakarta International School and presently in tenth grade. At this moment I am doing research on the Holocaust. And by searching through the web I learned a lot of information about the Holocaust from you. So I was wondering if I could interview you and ask you some questions about the Holocaust in Auschwitz and asking how people escaped from the Holocaust."

This is one of my favorites: [An Italian girl]"I read all the books of Primo Levi, I hope in one best world I'm only 14 but I know a lot of things about the past I'm not a Jew but I will don't forget..."

There's no shame in correcting a moral misstep. I suggest you unblock my pages, and those of your other critics such as Bennett Haselton of Peacefire, www.peacefire.org, immediately. Otherwise you will continue to raise serious questions as to your competence to determine what is safe for children to see.

Sincerely yours,
Jonathan Wallace
jw@bway.net