Warning! This post contains emails which according to EO will harm home educators..

Like an alcoholic who is able either to abstain completely or when once he touches a drop goes on a mad bender; I seem to be posting here once again. This must stop! One would think that I would by now realise that it is impossible to debate anything in a rational way with some of those on the main home education lists and I am slightly irritated with myself that I have even been trying.

Just to remind readers, my trouble on the EO list began when somebody posted a message complaining about attempts by local authorities to suppress debate of home education. She went on to say that censorship should be challenged in any form; a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly. My response to this was a brief message which I shall share with you all in a minute. Before that, I must say that I am relieved that EO admit now that they have actually been blocking my messages. Some people were talking slyly of conspiracy theories, as though the whole business was my being paranoid! Why have my messages been moderated or censored? One of the moderators explains that it was because,

I am not, however, personally happy to allow goading, rudeness or debate which would appear to be designed to harm home educators.’

Rudeness! Harming other home educators! Well of course, this is fair enough. If I have been rude or harming other parents, of course I should be prevented. (I am tempted to ask how I am harming them? By exposing them to opinions which differ slightly from their own? Yes, I suppose that could be pretty harmful, but only if one were a sheep or bigot!) Anyway, here is the message which I sent. Readers may judge for themselves just how rude or harmful it was. It begins with a quotation from the post to which I was replying:


'Censorship can come in many forms but it is usually recognisable for what it is and should be challenged accordingly.'

Fascinating idea, as though local authorities and newspapers somehow have a monopoly on this unsavoury practice! Many forums and lists for home educators operate censorship quite shamelessly, blocking posts which do not agree with the views of the moderators. Others simply chuck off those who are too vociferous in what the list owners feel to be the wrong cause. Witness how Tania Berlow was banned from HE Forums last year.

I am opposed to censorship, but let us admit that it takes place among home educators as much as it does anywhere else.


Just how harmful could this have been to other home educators? I emailed the moderators when I was told that this had been blocked. Perhaps this was when I began to be rude. Here is what I said:

Dear Shoshanna,

I cannot help making one or two points in response to your email. You say, ‘My personal feeling is that the EO group is the wrong place to have this debate’. I find this curious. Yesterday a message was posted complaining about censorship and the stifling of open debate on the subject of home education. Among other things the poster talked of, ’ the reluctance by many LA's keep an open debate’ and also said, ’ Censorship can come in many forms but it is usually recognisable for what it is and should be challenged accordingly’

Here is somebody who evidently wishes to start a debate about censorship relating to home education. You did not block or remove this message and so I must assume that you feel that this EO group is actually the right place for such a debate. When I point out that censorship around home education does not only happen in local authorities and newspapers, but is also undertaken by some home educators’ groups themselves, you apparently decide that this is no longer a topic which should be discussed on the list.

The result of this is, as I have said, to slant debates and give a false impression. The people coming on here seeking support and advice will be allowed to read that local authorities operate censorship and that is a bad thing, but will not be allowed to learn that home education groups do precisely the same thing. Do you really find nothing bizarre about somebody starting a debate on the EO list about censorship and the first person to respond to this being censored himself? I am sure that if you have any sense of the ridiculous, you will grasp this point!


Nothing rude or harmful here either! That this is actually censorship is clear from the way that while not being allowed to read my actual messages, those on the EO list are being told that they are rude and harmful. This is untrue and suggests strongly that those saying such things are not acting in good faith. Believe me, this is not moderation at all but censorship. Refusing to let others read something and then telling them that this is because it would harm them to do so is one of the oldest justifications for censorship. It has never cut any ice with me.

I have also, by the way, recieved an email headed:

 Message not approved: Moderating question

From: catalonia13 Add to Contacts

To: simon

From this, I take it that the posts which I sent to BRAG containing statistics have actually been rejected, rather than just falling victim to a technical glitch.