Is it Unconstitutional for Schools to Block Lesbian and Gay Content From Computers?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is fighting with district schools that block student access to gay-related informational and cultural websites on school computers.

“There is no legitimate reason why any public school should be using an anti-LGBT filter,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Project, according to The Washington Times.

The ACLU alleges that Internet filters that block non-sexual gay websites are unconstitutional and is trying to warn schools they can face potential litigation if they continue to ban those sites.

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However, for David Cortman, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which supports conservative organizations, says, “School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials.”

Letters by ADF, urging schools to reject ACLU’s demands, have been sent to at least eight school districts.

“We want to make sure that schools don’t unnecessarily cave to the ACLU’s demands,” Mr. Cortman said.

The ACLU sued Missouri school district in federal court this month for not removing its block on “LGBT” websites.

"Our Safe Schools program resources, coming-out guides, and other support and education resources that we have been providing to LGBT young people nationwide for nearly 40 years are all blocked," the ACLU stated in a release.

However, simply removing of the customized “sexuality” filters is not enough, said Cortman. ACLU is asking schools to remove the block on websites containing content such as “LGBT,” “sexuality,” “lifestyle,” “homosexuality” and “sex education.”

Cortman is concerned that if the filters on those websites are removed, students will easily be able have access to inappropriate sexual material.

Block, who is also the leader of the “Don’t Filter Me” campaign, believes that the ADF is bringing unnecessary confusion to the issue. He states that no one wants to turn schools “into porn portals.”

Some school officials in Camdenton, Mo., are preparing to respond to a lawsuit filed against them in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Missouri, Central Division on Aug. 15.

Other school officials have insisted on keeping the “sexuality” filter on in order to avoid their students coming across inappropriate materials.

“No offense to the Easterners, but we want to run our school district based on what our citizens and the kids in Missouri need, not what somebody in New York wants,” he said.

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