ACLU Continues the fight against School Filtering and Censorship

We reported last month about Schools filtering LGBTQIA sites.

The sites being blocked have included Gay Straight Alliances, GLSEN, support sites, and even blocking news items related to LGBTQIA issues. This affects all students, who are blocked from vital information, but especially the vulnerable LGBTQIA youth that are the inspiration for this site’s being.

Students from around the USA have been checking up on their schools filtering policies and reporting in. The ACLU has been collating all this information and has now starting acting against the offending school districts.

The initial round of legal action has resulted in letters sent to school districts in Michigan, Kansas and Western Missouri demanding they stop their censorship, and Freedom of Information requests to school districts throughout the rest of the USA on their filtering policies.

Its sad to see that schools have been doing this filtering, often hurting their most needy students, but hopefully the ACLU can start the momentum coming from the legal direction.

However its only part of the story, we need to contact our representatives, our board members and Principles to demand that censorship will not be tolerated.

I’ve started a new petition to be sent to the House, Senate and the Whitehouse demanding they take action against such unconstitutional, discriminatory and potentially life threatening censorship.

Please sign the petition to make your voice heard.

Found via Pink News

“Be Happy Not Gay”

In a school where it would be unacceptable to wear a “jews are evil” or “women belong in the kitchen” its apparently okay to wear something equally offensive, “Be Happy Not Gay”. The rules of schoolyard behavior is a special subsection of first amendment space, you cannot bully someone based on race, gender, or in theory on sexuality. However apparently making spurious claims that being gay is a choice and that God hates gay people is perfectly acceptable to the 7th circuit court of appeals.

Not only was this at school, but it was on the “Day of Silence” a day of remembrance and support for LGBTQIA youth. We need to make it clear that hate speech is not welcome in schools. This is what the school tried to do, and the 7th circuit struck them down.

ACLU reporting on School Censorship of LGBTQA websites

Its becoming clear that many school’s filtering is including sites about Gay Straight Alliances, and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. However those schools doing the censoring often fail to censor the hate filled “god can fix the gay” groups who perpetrate potentially fatal lies about being able to cure being gay.

Example of a website block

Here's an example of what is being seen.

The ACLU is fighting against this unconstitutional censorship, and asking for student’s help with a survey of website accessibility.

Found via Pride in Utah.

Anti-Homophobia in the schools, supported by the school board, can’t be in the USA

Sadly its not, however here is what happens when you have a supportive progressive enlightened school board to the north in Vancouver.

This was where the schools of the US should be at, not talking about tolerating the bigoted fundamentalist viewpoints.

Its certainly moving to think that this is where school children are at, rather than the bigoted compatriots of my youth.

Found via Pride in Utah and Globe Writer.

A lawsuit with a happyish ending

When a lesbian couple wanted to walk as a couple in their school’s traditional Snowday Parade, they were told that it was not acceptable, because it might make some of their compatriots uncomfortable.

However you look at the response by Mary Olsen official for the schoolboard, she seems to think it was acceptable to try to sanitize these events, and does not seem to have any problem with repressing lgbtqa expression.

As a result, Desiree and Sarah filed a federal discrimination lawsuit. They were shocked that their school would do this. However in a move for sanity and understanding the lawsuit was resolved by mediation, and the couple were able to walk proudly with the other couples.

The reason i call it happyish, is because its clear that figures involved did not realize what harm they were doing by trying to censor this couple. Hopefully these figures will be more understanding next time an issue of LGBTQA rights.

Thank you for this couple who said do not step on me and stood up for their rights.