The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has launched a nationwide campaign called “Don’t Filter Me”— threatening public high schools with potential lawsuits unless they remove Web filters that have been put in place by schools to protect children from accessing graphic material categorized under homosexual topics.
“Your continued use of the ‘LGBT’ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] filter violates your students’ rights under the First Amendment and Equal Access Act and could give rise to legal liability,” warned an ACLU letter to the Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia. It’s just one of many similar letters the ACLU has sent around the country.
But the good news is that the Alliance Defending Freedom has stepped up to defend the Georgia school district and others.
“School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “This latest scare tactic—under the façade of illegal censorship—is just another act of intimidation designed to forward the ACLU’s radical sexual agenda for children.”
The ACLU has argued that the Web filters unfairly limit students’ equal access to “positive info about LGBT issues and organizations,” even when there are no sexual images involved. But the Alliance Defending Freedom did its homework and researched the actual situation at the Georgia school district— finding that to disable the LGBT filter would likely result in unblocking sexually graphic web sites, which among other things depict and/or describe “multiple person sexual relationships,” “naked men apparently engaged in a sexual act,” etc, etc.
To learn about the Alliance Defending Freedom’s findings, read its letter to the school district.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund) also pointed out that “bowing to the ACLU’s demands may result in the District violating federal law,” if the district receives funding tied to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This Act prohibits libraries receiving CIPA funds from allowing students under the age of 17 to access Internet content that is “harmful to minors.” (See the actual letter for more detail on the type of sexually graphic images that can be considered “harmful to minors.”)
The bottom line is that the district is well within its rights to keep the filter in place, explains ADF, especially given the evidence that removing it would expose kids to sexually explicit content. And it seems most school officials would agree that protecting kids from inappropriate sexual content is necessary for a truly “safe school.”
Consider sharing ADF’s letter with your school district, especially if it becomes the target of the ACLU’s latest attempt to remove protective filters.