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Florida students
finally gain access to pro-gay Web sites

Florida students
finally gain access to pro-gay Web sites

Nine months after it was reported by students that the Palm Beach County, Fla., school district had blocked access to gay-supportive Web sites from the district's computers, those filters have been removed, reports the Boca Raton News.

School district spokesman Nat Harrington said the sites were unblocked after they were deemed to be safe for students. "Sites are blocked to protect students," he told the newspaper. "There is an appeal process, and if the site is found to be not harmful, it can be unblocked."

The Web site of the nonprofit Palm Beach County Human Rights Council was one of those that had been blocked. "This is great news for teachers and students in our public schools," said Rand Hoch, president and founder of the council, which has been working to advance equality for Palm Beach County's gay and lesbian population since 1988. "Allowing access to up-to-date information provided by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and other supportive organizations will assist administrators, faculty, and students in making our public schools a more accepting environment for all students. The county's five [gay-straight alliances] will benefit as well."

According to the Boca Raton News, an Inlet Grove High School senior published an investigative report last March disclosing that while Palm Beach County's teachers and students were denied access to gay-supportive sites on the district's computer system, they could access the antigay sites of the Traditional Values Coalition, the American Family Association, and Focus on the Family from any school district computer. Inletspin.com editor in chief Joe Dellosa reported that the Web sites of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; Gay-Straight Alliance Network; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays were among those being blocked by the school district. (The Advocate)

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