LGBT website censoring not just NC problem


Many of you may have seen my past post on the censoring and blocking of LGBT positive websites on computers used in school systems in North Carolina. That post dealt with the censoring in Cabarrus County Schools, but the problem is wide-spread in North Carolina and even beyond our own state.

According to an article published by 365gay.com News, Palm Beach County Schools is now comign under fire from the Palm Beach Human Rights Council and the American Civil Liberties. The website censoring in Palm Beach is very similar to the censoring in Cabarrus County (NC) Schools and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (by the way, I recently found out that my site might actually be a victim of the censoring… I’ll have to look into that).

Here is the short article:

Palm Beach County’s school board is under fire for blocking access to the Web sites of LGBT rights groups while allowing sites advocating the so-called ex-gay movement to go unfiltered.

Among the gay sites deemed inappropriate for students is one belonging to a local gay youth advocacy group.

Other banned sites include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.

Yet sites belonging to the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality can all be viewed.

All of those sites denounce homosexuality and advocate that gays can be turned straight.

The banned sites are included in Web sites that promote violence, racism and pornography.

The school district defends the blocking. It say that it is only following federal government guidelines. Its computer security manager, Bob LaRocca, says the filtering software being used comply with the Child Online Protection Act and the Children Internet Protection Act.

At the request of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council the American Civil Liberties Union is reviewing the school district’s policy.

“If their blocking software prevents kids, particularly middle and high school kids, from having access to information about gay rights and public health issues, but on the other hand allow access to religious group Web sites that are hostile to gay and lesbian legal rights and public health, that constitutes censorship,” James Green, an ACLU lawyer told the Palm Beach Post.

I’ll bet you anything that the censoring down in Florida also allows kids to see sites such as www.godhatesfags.com. You can see that site, and numerous other violently anti-LGBT sites, in Cabarrus County and in Winston-Salem. BUT…. GOD FORBID we let the kids see positive things about those “evil homosexuals.” Come on… give me a break.

WSFCS logoThis whole website censoring thing started when I was still at R.J. Reynolds High School. After GLSEN Winston-Salem approached the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education requesting to have the non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies changed, the school system started blocking the websites for GLSEN national, PFLAG national, the local chapters of GLSEN and PFLAG, along with sites like Lambda Legal and, I think, Stonewall Democrats…. and now, it might even be blocking my website… which is really sad because it is the ONLY LOCALLY RUN WEBSITE speaking out about the anti-LGBT actions of the WS/FC Board of Education.

All of this seems pretty wierd to me. The School Board is censoring sites that make their own political/religious (they haven’t heard of “separation of Church and State” yet) views look bad. On top of that… they have total control over what teens see and what they don’t see. When the only thing that can be seen by teens is anti-LGBT websites, then that is censoring.

Hey Cabarrus County and Winston-Salem… WATCH OUT! The ACLU is jumping down one school system’s throat about their anti-LGBT actions. Don’t dare think for one moment they won’t do it to you.


Comments
2 Responses to “LGBT website censoring not just NC problem”
  1. Brandon G says:

    Matt, major kudos for taking a stand on this injustice. This too hits home to me. I have just learned that Catawba County Government is blocking access to LGBT-related websites. I am unsure if this affects public schools, public libraries, etc. I’m currently conducting an internal investigation to determine the severity of the issue.

    As for Cabarrus & Forsyth Counties, I have already contacted Lambda Legal and the NC Chapter of the American Civil Liberities Union. Both groups have agreed to look into the issue and work together to come to a full resolution as quickly as possible.

    I’ll keep you posted as to the progress I receive from the groups. NCACLU has said there is court presidence that this type of behavior is illegal and a direct violation of the student’s rights under the Freedom of Information Act.

    So I too repeat your sentiments: “Hey Cabarrus County and Winston-Salem… WATCH OUT!”

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  1. […] And… From an article in the Palm Beach Post we learn that one school district has unblocked previously censored websites belonging to some pretty big name LGBT advocacy and education organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. As reported on my blog some time ago, the Palm Beach school district had been in a battle with LGBT students and the ACLU over the blocked websites and censoring. […]



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