A Tennessee school district has
unblocked GLBT issue oriented websites in response to an ACLU federal
lawsuit, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) and the ACLU of Tennessee sued Metropolitan Nashville Public
Schools and Knox County Schools in May, charging the schools with
unconstitutionally blocking students from accessing online
information abut lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
While the school's Internet filter
blocked GLBT issue oriented websites, student were free to access
Filtered sites included prominent gay
and lesbian rights organizations including Parents, Families and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the nation's largest support
group for gay allies, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
(GLSEN), a group that supports student gay-straight clubs, and the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay and lesbian
Not filtered were sites that support
so-called reparative therapies, a combination of pseudo-science and
ministry aimed at “curing” gay men and lesbians, also known as
the “ex-gay” movement.
“Allowing access to Web sites that
present one side of an issue while blocking sites that present the
other side is illegal viewpoint discrimination,” Catherine Crump,
an ACLU staff attorney, said in a statement. “This discriminatory
censorship does nothing to make students safe from material that may
actually be harmful, but only hurts them by making it impossible to
access important educational material.”
Officials at the Knox County Schools
called the blocking of GLBT sites a “glitch” and reported on
Wednesday that it had been corrected.
“We began working to find a solution
to this issue, in good faith, as soon as it was brought to our
attention, and our efforts were actively under way long before the
legal action recently taken by the American Civil Liberties Union,”
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre said in a statement.
All adult-oriented websites remain
inaccessible to students.