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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ACLU Sues Missouri School District for Blocking Student Access to LGBT Websites

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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Last week we told you about how Internet software used by dozens of school districts in Missouri blocked student access to websites dealing with gay, lesbian and transgender issues.

Now the ACLU of Eastern Missouri has sued one of those districts, which it says refuses to lift the block for its students. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of several organizations whose websites are allegedly blocked by the filter (including PFLAG National, Matthew Shepard Project and Campus Pride), claims that Camdenton R-III School District near the Lake of the Ozarks discriminates by barring access to the sites.

The ACLU asserts that the school uses the "sexuality" filter on its Internet software, which blocks access to educational LGBT websites while allowing access to homophobic sites.

Tim Hadfield, superintendent of the Camdenton schools, disagrees with the ACLU's assessment.

"We do not specifically filter sites promoting alternative lifestyles," says Hadfield. "We do specifically block sites that are inappropriate and will continue to do so. We disagree with their position and turned the issue over to our attorney to address."

The district maintains that students can view LGBT websites if they ask permission. The ACLU counters that it's unreasonable to require students to seek such permission each time they want to access such sites, especially when no such permission is required to view anti-gay websites.

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