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Virginia school district agrees to stop blocking pro-LGBT websites

Friday, May 27, 2011
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The Prince William County school district in Northern Virgina, has removed an internet filter that blocked school computers from accessing websites that provided information on LGBT issues.

The action comes following a warning by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia back in April, advising the suburban Washington D.C. school district, to stop censoring websites that advocate LGBT rights, while at the same time allowing access to anti-gay websites that promote reparative therapy.

In a Prince William Public Schools news release, Keith Imon, the associate superintendent for communications and technology services, said that the school system was able to remove the filters and still keep students safe from other content.

“Internet filtering is difficult, sometimes imprecise, and constantly evolving. It is nearly impossible to find the perfect balance between the protection of students, freedom of speech, and equal access,” Imon said in the release. “However, the decision to discontinue the use of the LGBT filter is within this balance.”

According to the ACLU, the school district blocked students from accessing most LGBT websites, including: GSA Network, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Network (GLSEN), Day Of Silence, and the It Gets Better Project among others.

However, the school system permitted access to several anti-LGBT websites, including: People Can Change, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), Exodus International, and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays.

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