ACLU sues Missouri school district for blocking gay advocacy sites

“We have made every effort to inform the school district that its filtering software illegally denies students access to important educational information and resources on discriminatory grounds,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. “Unfortunately, it will now be up to the courts to compel the district to grant its students viewpoint-neutral access to the Internet.”

In a phone interview Monday, Tim Hadfield, superintendent of the Camdenton School District, said he was unaware of the lawsuit.

He said the ACLU had previously complained about the district blocking sites including those for the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education network.

He said the filter was adjusted to allow for access to those sites.

“We do not filter gay and lesbian and alternative-lifestyle websites,” Hadfield said. “We do filter sexuality.”

Missouri school districts also have come under fire from the ACLU for a new law that restricts teachers’ use of social networking sites such as Facebook.