The American Civil Liberties Union has written to more schools to question their filters on LGBT support websites.
As part of the group’s ‘Don’t Filter Me’ campaign, it has sent letters to schools in Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia, asking them to stop censoring the websites.
One school in New Jersey has voluntarily removed its anti-LGBT filter as a result of the campaign, which asks students to check if sites are banned and contact the ACLU if they are.
“There is no legitimate reason why any public school should be using an anti-LGBT filter,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney at the ACLU.
“This is not a case where overbroad filters are accidentally filtering out LGBT websites. These filters are designed to discriminate and are programmed specifically to target LGBT-related content that would not otherwise be blocked as sexually explicit or inappropriate.”
Last month, the ACLU sent letters to schools in Rochester, Michigan and Kansas City, Missouri, to demand they remove the filters.
The North Kansas City School District immediately unblocked the websites identified by the ACLU, and the Rochester Community School District has undertaken a review of its filtering procedures.
A Michigan student who complained about his school said he had been unable to plan activities for the gay-straight alliance because of the blocks.
Brandon Bleau, an 18-year-old senior at John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan, said: “I’m the vice president of the gay-straight alliance club at my school, but when I tried to go to GSANetwork.org to get ideas for club activities, I found it’s blocked for being ‘gay or lesbian or bisexual interest.
“None of the other clubs I know of at school have these kinds of roadblocks thrown in their way when they’re trying to plan meaningful things for their clubs to do.”
Students who want to report anti-LGBT filters at their schools can fill out a form a www.action.aclu.org/dontfilterme