Missouri school district settles internet filtering lawsuit with ACLU, Campus Pride and other LGBT groups
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri announced today that they have reached a settlement agreement with the Camdenton R-III School District following a judge’s order to stop using Internet filtering software that unfairly blocked pro-LGBT websites while allowing access to anti-LGBT resources.
The district agreed to a settlement in which it will stop blocking the sites, submit to monitoring for 18 months to confirm compliance and pay $125,000 in legal fees and costs. For its part, URL Blacklist – the software provider used by the district – changed its design to allow access to thousands of websites that had been blocked under its old configuration.
The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Camdenton High School student and LGBT organizations whose websites are blocked by the filter: PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Campus Pride and DignityUSA, a Catholic LGBT organization. The plaintiffs were also represented by Thompson Coburn LLP.
Statement from Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director:
“Campus Pride is pleased by the Camdenton R-III School District’s decision to settle this case and agree to stop filtering LGBT-related content. Finding an LGBT-friendly college and learning about valuable LGBT services on campuses should not be blocked for any reason. Every young person should have access in their schools to such online information provided by Campus Pride, especially those seeking safer, more welcoming places to learn, live and grow in their academic careers. Our online resources are essential in delivering a message of hope and support — and in changing the lives of LGBT and ally young people. We are encouraged knowing that the rights of students in this school district will be protected.”