TEC Model: TheSprout & Homophobic School Filters

by Sam Easterbrook | 27th Sep 2017

Innovation doesn’t come from technology alone. It comes from understanding how people interact with services. And how to be of value to an individual.

That approach is at the heart of our TEC model.

TheSprout is an online magazine for young people in Cardiff. It’s underpinned by a youth information section. And TheSprout is where young people can share their news, views, information, advice, opinions, and more.

TheSprout.co.uk Logo

One of the earliest examples ProMo-Cymru’s TEC Model was when a user shared the news that their school was blocking sites about homosexual artists. I’ll let ShroukiePoo! take it away

School Safety Search: Homophobic?

Today I had to research some artists for my AS Art class. One of the artists, Elizabeth Peyton, had a portrait drawing of Oscar Wilde and (his male lover) Bosie. So I then researched “Oscar Wilde and Bosie” and the RM Safety Search blocked most sites that came up with the search, so I moved on.

Oscar and Bosie, 1998 by Elizabeth Peyton for TEC Model: TheSprout & Homophobic School Filters article

Oscar and Bosie, 1998 by Elizabeth Peyton via Pinterest

Then I had to research Andy Warhol and most sites were also blocked. I wanted to make sure that the RM Safety is actually blocking work because of other reasons that are un-related to their sexuality; I searched “homosexuality” and… IT WAS BLOCKED! I WAS SHOCKED!

I went and told a teacher and she was laughing at it, then told another teacher and she told me that she will tell my art teacher that I couldn’t research my work because it was blocked, which was nice but still wasn’t the point! Nobody took it seriously! The RM Safety Search is, as far as I know, set by the council (who should be an example to Welsh youth) which sets a very bad example for blocking things like that.

By blocking “homosexuality” from being researched it’s sending a message that it’s wrong to talk about or discuss homosexuality. I also believe that it’s actions like these that make it okay for some students to be harassed due to their sexual orientation.

This is just wrong! I did not know where to complain since teachers offered no help and didn’t even see much of a problem! I e-mailed Stonewall about this in hope to spread the word and take the right action. You too, lovely Sprout people, should KICK OFF!

Ta muchly.

And kick off it did.

I contacted the equality officer for Cardiff Council, as well as the leader of the Loud and Proud LGBT group in Cardiff, and encouraged them to respond to the article in the comments section.

Through dialogue between concerned young people and the officials at the council, TheSprout was able to facilitate positive change. The firewall was changed. Yet we never did find out what mark ShroukiePoo! got for their homework.

But this is what we mean by innovation and the TEC model. Highlighting how to engage and support through a human and digital approach.

Everything starts with a conversation

ProMo-Cymru works towards building positive change and lasting relationships between individuals, families and communities. Providing innovative and creative solutions through meaningful conversations and digital technology. If you’d like to discuss how our TEC Model can help your organisation then get in touch.

029 2046 2222

Cover photo: CC BY-SA 3.0, Link