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ACLU Declares Web-Filtering Campaign a Success

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A leading civil rights organization says it’s ending its successful campaign designed to address the censorship of LGBT web content in public schools nationwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union initially launched its ‘Don’t Filter Me’ campaign in February 2011 in response to complaints filed by students looking to access blocked online material, like the websites of gay rights groups. That prompted the ACLU to ask ALL teens to check to see if their own schools filtered non-explicit, gay-friendly sites, including those with anti-bullying resources. The ACLU then contacted those schools to let them know about the unlawful censorship, which did NOT always apply to ANTI-GAY content as well.

The group now says in a new report released this past Wednesday that most schools “overwhelmining responded positively” to the campaign and agreed to modify their web-filtering software. Some even admitted NOT knowing about the anti-LGBT feature.

Joshua Block is a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project. He tells OutQ News that his group accomplished three of its goals with the initiative: one, setting a “clear court precedent” on censorship; two, educating administrators about the actual filtering process; and three, working with software companies to make necessary changes.

BLOCK: With those three major goals accomplished, we thought we had together all the tools to enable students and allies and parents to advocate on their own.

Block says the ACLU will provide concerned students with a toolkit including information on web-filtering products and a copy of a federal court’s decision AGAINST a Missouri school that refused to change its software.

Written by Xorje Olivares

October 5, 2012 at 5:45 PM

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