ACLU fights web filtering at Missouri school

I know many gay school teachers, and in the past, several have told me that Dallas Voice cannot be read on school computers. I don’t mean they can’t download a film or the filter blocks out articles that have “offensive” wording. I mean they can’t even find DallasVoice.com on their browser.

So it was nothing new to me to hear the ACLU has filed suit against a school district in Missouri which blocks all content of a gay nature … except that which is anti-gay. That means not only are teens blocked from reading Dallas Voice, but also information about AIDS and HIV (if published on a gay-approving website), or trans issues, or coming out, or dealing with bullying … Well, you get the idea.

You can read more about the lawsuit here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

ACLU: Fort Worth’s Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD agrees to stop filtering LGBT web content

We’ve told you repeatedly (here, here and here) about the ACLU’s recent efforts to get districts in Texas to stop illegally filtering online LGBT content on school computers. This week, the ACLU of Texas reported that two districts have complied with its requests: Baytown’s Goose Creek ISD and Fort Worth’s Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.

According to the ACLU, Goose Creek was using web filtering software that blocked sites of “Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Interest,” and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw was using one that blocked “education.lifestyles.”

Both districts have agreed to remove the filters, and the ACLU says it is investigating several other districts in Texas — but apparently not DISD.

“No student should be denied access to legitimate information, and Goose Creek and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school officials should be commended for doing the right thing and taking prompt action to restore that access,” Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, said in a press release. “All schools should ensure that their web filters are configured to provide students with viewpoint-neutral access to the Internet.”

The above video explains how to test whether your school is illegally filtering content, and you can fill out a complaint form by going here.

 

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Marriage on rocks in Maryland; Lady Gaga premieres ‘Government Hooker’

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. It’s all hands on deck in Maryland, where the fate of a marriage equality bill may be decided today. One pro-marriage equality lawmaker says if a committee vote doesn’t happen, the bill will die. The House committee vote was delayed Tuesday when two supporters of the bill didn’t show up. Now, other co-sponsors are backtracking on their support. As someone who spent part of his childhood on a sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay, I sincerely hope this ship can be righted and sail safely through the stormy waters of Annapolis.

2. Gay students at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., launched an online magazine Wednesday called HU Queer Press, only to have the administration immediately block access to the website on school computers. Change.org has launched a petition, but this is hardly the first time the Church of Christ-affiliated school has tried to stifle free speech.

3. Lady Gaga made her runway debut in Paris — and premiered a song called “Government Hooker.” Watch video from the Thierry Mugler fashion show above and listen to the song here.

—  John Wright