Scroll To Top

ACLU Sues Missouri School District for Filtering Gay Websites

ACLU Sues Missouri School District for Filtering Gay Websites


The American Civil Liberties filed suit Monday against a Missouri school district for using filtering software to block students' access to the websites of LGBT advocacy organizations as if they were pornography.

According to a news release about the lawsuit from the national ACLU and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, "The district's custom-built filtering software relies on a database of websites compiled by URL Blacklist, which has a viewpoint-neutral category that allows schools to block all sexually explicit content. But it also has a viewpoint-discriminatory category called 'sexuality,' which blocks all LGBT-related information, including hundreds of materials that are not sexually explicit. The filter does, however, allow students to view anti-LGBT sites."

The suit is being filed on behalf of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Campus Pride, and DignityUSA, an organization for LGBT Catholics.

ACLU attorney Joshua Block said that despite initial denials, the Camdenton district has acknowledged in correspondence that it used URL Blacklist as a framework for the filtering software it created, according to Education Week. He said the district took action to unblock four sites that initiated the complaint, including the those for the Day of Silence, the Trevor Project, the GSA Network, and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, but it stopped after that and has been "very intransigent" compared to other school districts that use the same filter.

The superintendent for the school district said it would continue to unblock sites according to student requests, but the content on the sites must accord with district rules. The district has refused to change its software to fix the broader problem, and hundreds of LGBT websites remain blocked, which poses an unreasonable hurdle to students, the ACLU charges.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Julie Bolcer