Once again the commonwealth makes the news for its institutionalized bigotry. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has notified the Prince William County Virginia School District that using software to block students' access to websites that advocate for LGBT equality is a violation of their rights. LGBTQNation reports:
According to ACLU-Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg, the school district uses Blue Coat filter software, which is manually configured, and which currently blocks Prince William County 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 permits 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 — which is currently undertaking concerted efforts this week to counter the National Day Of Silence on Friday, by asking students to distribute ex-gay literature to their friends in support of equality for the ex-gay community.
A spokesman for Dr. Steven L. Walts, the superintendent, refused to comment other than to acknowledge that the county uses the filter software to comply with a federal mandate under the Children’s Internet Protection Act or CIPA, and that officials would be reviewing the ACLU’s claims.
In a letter, the ACLU warned school administrators that the Blue Coat software, as currently configured under the school’s acceptable use policy, violates both the First Amendment rights of the students, and federal equal access statutes.