The American Civil Liberties Union has demanded a Georgia school district to deactivate its Web filter that currently blocks student access to websites in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender category.
The Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter Friday urging Gwinnett County Public Schools to reject the ACLU's insistence, explaining that the district is well within its legal rights to keep the filter in place, especially since deactivating the filter would expose students to sites with sexually explicit content.
“School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials,” says ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “This latest scare tactic—under the facade of illegal censorship—is just another act of intimidation designed to forward the ACLU’s radical sexual agenda for children.”
The letter from ADF—a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith—provides the district with a list of sexually graphic sites, including sites with pornographic images and sex advice that would be accessible to students if the district agreed to the ACLU’s demand.
The ACLU threatened to sue the district if it does not disable its LGBT filter and claims that it violates students' First Amendment protected rights and the Equal Access Act. On the other hand, ADF attorneys argue that these allegations lack merit and that the district has broad authority over what materials students may access on the Internet.
ADF also explains that the ACLU’s demand could result in the district violating the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits libraries receiving CIPA funds from allowing minors to access harmful sexual materials on the Internet.
While the ACLU claims that the district should disable the LGBT filter because of the “epidemic of LGBT youth suicides and bullying,” the ADF letter points out that the ACLU’s letter threatening to sue identifies no instances of bullying or suicide at schools within the district and that such problems, when they do exist, are not solved by disabling Internet filters.
“The idea that Internet filters somehow result in student suicides is preposterous, and the ACLU should be ashamed for making such a connection,” says Jeremy Tedesco, ADF legal counsel. “The ACLU cannot mask its attempts to turn school computers into porn portals for children with a supposed concern for bullying and suicides.
“Parents expect schools to be places where their children will learn knowledge, information and skills that will make them productive members of society, not places where they can access pornography.”