Eric Stoller's blog

| higher education consulting |

Tennessee schools restore access to LGBT content

2 comments



Rainbow flag

The default Internet filter setting for the Tennessee state-wide public school system was automatically blocking LGBT-related web content. I’m guessing that Education Networks of America (ENA) does not have a default filter setting for heterosexual-related content. They really could use a filter for heterosexism…

Dozens of Tennessee schools have restored students’ access to online information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, just a few weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against two Tennessee school districts for what the ACLU claimed was an unconstitutional blocking of student access to such sites.

David Pierce, president and CEO of the company that provides internet filtering services to as many as 107 Tennessee schools–Education Networks of America (ENA)–confirmed to eSchool News that his company has adjusted the software to allow access to a variety of educational and political LGBT web sites that were blocked before the ACLU filed its lawsuit.

On May 19, the ACLU filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools on behalf of two high school students in Nashville, one student in Knoxville, and a high school librarian in Knoxville who is also the advisor of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

About 80 percent of Tennessee public schools, including those in the two districts being sued, use filtering software provided by ENA. Until recently, the software’s default setting blocked sites categorized as LGBT, including the sites of many well-known LGBT organizations.

However, the filter did not block access to web sites that urge LGBT persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay” ministries, the ACLU claimed.

via eSchool News

Written by Eric Stoller

July 12th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

  • Elaine Talbert

    This is a great outcome.
    The fact that BlueCoat has an LGBT filter category is worrying enough.
    This company is hoping to operate worldwide and such discriminatory naming of filter categories is not acceptable.

  • Elizabeth

    That is really messed up that was happening >:( Glad to read it was unblocked, though.

%d bloggers like this: