ACLU’s “Don’t Filter Me” Project

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As part of its “don’t filter me” project, the ACLU of Pennsylvania recently sent a letter to a Philadelphia-area school district demanding that it lift its ban on accessing LGBT content on the internet. But this problem is in no way unique to Pennsylvania. Here is the national ACLU’s state-by-state map of web filtering:

The ACLU has a form on its web site that gives high school students instructions on how to test their schools’ computers for software that filters LGBT web sites. The students are told to check to see if they are blocked from viewing information regarding the day of silence, GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network), the GSA (gay/straight alliance) Network, the Trevor Project, and the It Gets Better Project. Apparently because some schools configure their filtering software to only block positive LGBT web sites, students are also asked to check to see if they are blocked from viewing antigay web sites (e.g., Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays).

Naturally, the objection to this filtering software is that it is an infringement on freedom of speech as well as, in the case of blocking access to information regarding the formation of gay/straight alliances, a violation of the Equal Access Act, which guarantees students equal access to school resources for extracurricular activities.

-Tony Infanti

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