Ban on Gay Websites Lifted in NJ District

Students had been unable to access any site that dealt with gay or lesbian issues

After complaints from students and staff and questions from the American Civil Liberties Union, Vineland School District removed an Internet filter that prevented students from visiting gay and lesbian websites

It’s not yet known why the filter was put in place, nor how long it was blocking websites that have anything to do with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, but the filter was removed March 31, reports the Courier Post.

"Frankly we feel filtering based on LGBT content is discriminatory and against the law," Jeanne LoCicero, deputy legal director for New Jersey’s ACLU chapter, told the Courier Post. "Hopefully other districts will look at this situation and follow Vineland's lead."

As a result of the discovery of this website ban, the ACLU is now trying to find out which other New Jersey school districts have similar bans.

The website blocking software used by Vineland School District is able to block sites that deal with 26 specific categories, reports the Courier Post. In addition to LGBT subjects, the district had banned anything related to drugs, pornography, gambling or nudity.

Removing the LGBT subjects from the filter does not affect the ban on adult content on school computers, reports the Courier Post.

Before the filter was lifted, Vineland High School junior Justin Rodriguez told the Courier Post that he wasn’t even able to do research on Harvey Milk, the country’s first openly gay elected official.

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