Equity & Diversity News in Brief

ACLU Files First School Suit Over LGBT Website Filtering

By Ian Quillen — August 23, 2011 1 min read

The American Civil Liberties Union last week filed the first lawsuit of its “Don’t Filter Me” campaign, against Missouri’s 4,100-student Camdenton R-III district for alleged improper Web-filtering practices toward educational lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender content.

The ACLU argues that the district is using a filtering system that is built on the commercially managed URL Blacklist, which provides lists of sites by category to subscribers. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of LGBT advocacy sites such as the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Campus Pride, and Dignityusa, which ACLU lawyer Joshua A. Block says have been blacked out because they fall into a “sexuality” category.

Mr. Block said the school’s filter wasn’t found to enforce the same level of scrutiny toward sites that oppose LGBT lifestyles.

District Superintendent Tim Hadfield said not all the sites in the complaint are blocked, and he noted that the district allows students and teachers to request access to blocked sites that they believe fall within the districts rules for appropriateness.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 24, 2011 edition of Education Week as ACLU Files First School Suit Over LGBT Website Filtering

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