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In combination, the two groups have launched a campaign called ''Don’t Filter Me.'' The campaign encourages students to attempt to check if their school bars content on the web that is oriented towards LGBT communities.
Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project, says, ''Students may not realize that it actually is illegal for their schools to block educational and political content geared toward the LGBT community. With this initiative we hope to inform students of their rights, and let them know there is something they can do if their school is engaging in censorship.''
According to the ACLU, blocking access to such sites is in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act, a bill that orders equal access for all students to all extracurricular clubs – including LGBT oriented groups.
''We think it’s extremely common,'' added Block. ''We’ve received reports from school districts around the country in the past year. It’s like whack-a-mole, in that we address one school district and the problem pops up at another one.''
In 2009, the ACLU sued two school districts in the state of Tennessee for preventing student access to LGBT-related web sites. The district quickly agreed to cease blocking the sites.
''Schools harm students by denying them vital information,'' Block said. ''Schools not only have a legal duty to allow students access to these sites, it is also imperative that LGBT youth who are experiencing discrimination and bullying be able to access this information for their own safety.''
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