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Nashville, Knoxville Schools Unblock LGBT Web Sites

Jim Burroway

June 5th, 2009

School districts in Nashville and Knoxville have responded to the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit demanding that Tennessee school systems remove Internet filtering software which blocks students’ access to legitimate LGBT educational and informational web sites. The Knoxville superintendent said that the blocking software was against school board policy.

The school systems used filtering software provided by Education Networks of America, which categorized some 1,000 web sites as “LGBT” and blocked access to them. The same software however allowed access to ex-gay ministries. David Pierce, CEO of ENA, said that they have upgraded the system to distinguish between web sites which provide information and those are more adult oriented.

The ACLU says that they will now likely drop their lawsuit but they are holding off for now, pending assurances that the filtering software won’t re-block access to LGBT sites in the future.

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David
June 6th, 2009 | LINK

As is all too common, those without any familiarity with gay and lesbian issues make the false assumption that anything dealing with GLBT matters is sexual in nature, and therefore, banning it from the schools is justified.

However, if ENA had more closely examined the websites they were blocking, they would have seen that many of the blocked sites did not contain anything but frank and academic information, not sexual content.

Nashville had a similar rash of reactionary ignorance not long ago when a free gay newspaper was pulled off the magazine racks of local grocery stores due to the false and alarmist claims of an anti-gay religious group that this newspaper was pornographic in nature.

Without examining the contents, the distributor halted delivery of the newspaper. Once public scrutiny revealed the source (and the falsity) of the claim, the newspaper returned to the magazine racks.

Christopher Waldrop
June 8th, 2009 | LINK

David, thank you for reminding me about that particular bit of lunacy with Out & About being pulled from racks in grocery stores. It was specifically Kroger stores as well–other grocery store chains in the area continued to allow Out & About to be distributed. The most ridiculous thing to me about that situation was that so many of the magazines in the racks in the checkout line promote sex, and yet no grocery store seems to have a problem with those.

The worst thing in this situation is the fact that anti-gay sites, especially sites promoting “reparative therapy”, were not blocked. Because of the way the filters were set up the schools were essentially promoting a negative view of homosexuality.

faeya
June 8th, 2009 | LINK

“The worst thing in this situation is the fact that anti-gay sites, especially sites promoting “reparative therapy”, were not blocked. Because of the way the filters were set up the schools were essentially promoting a negative view of homosexuality.”

That’s not a bug! That’s a feature!

Christopher Waldrop
June 9th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, that’s what I think too. I’m sorry I didn’t clarify that I never thought it was a “bug” in the filter programs. Filters are designed by people with their own agendas. And it seems like most filter companies are run by narrow-minded, bigoted people.

javarius
June 12th, 2009 | LINK

thank you all aso much

4 Types of Gay Websites Schools Should Block « Entirely Randomly Gay
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

[…] summer, the ACLU got the Knoxville and Nashville school districts to retool computer filtering software that blocked students from visiting out over a thousand LGBT […]

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