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School District Begins Unblocking Some LGBT Web Sites

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School District Begins Unblocking Some LGBT Web Sites

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 16, 2006 12:01 am ET

(Palm Beach, Florida) Palm Beach County's school board has begun allowing students to view some LGBT advocacy sites, but others remain blocked despite months of negotiations to end the practice.

The board first came under fire in May for blocking access to the Web sites of LGBT rights groups while allowing sites advocating the so-called ex-gay movement to go unfiltered.

Among the gay sites deemed inappropriate for students was one belonging to the local gay-straight alliance, a gay youth advocacy group. The filter was reset Thursday to allow access to the GSA site.

Other sites still banned include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. In all more than a dozen LGBT civil rights and health information sites remain out of reach for students.

Yet sites belonging to the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality can all be viewed.

All of those sites denounce homosexuality and advocate that gays can be turned straight.

The school district defends the blocking. It say that it is only following federal government guidelines. Its computer security manager, Bob LaRocca, says the filtering software being used comply with the Child Online Protection Act and the Children Internet Protection Act.

After months of pressure from the Palm Beach Human Rights Council the American Civil Liberties Union agreed to review the school district's policy.

A school board spokesperson said the district is considering using a different filtering program that would allow individual school principals to decide what content could be accessed.

©365Gay.com 2006

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