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.
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.