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US high schools block students accessing LGBT+ sites claiming it's for their protection

The Billings Public Schools district defended blocking the sites as a way to 'help protect students and staff'

2019-01-22

Words: Steve Brown

US high schools in Montana have reportedly blocked students accessing a number of LGBT+ websites.

Pupils at Billings Public Schools in Montana have claimed they aren’t allowed to access websites including those belonging to the Human Rights Watch and the LGBT+ organisation GLAAD after the school claimed it is to “protect students and staff”.

In an email to staff, Brandon Newpher, the chief information director of technology for Billings Public Schools, said that ‘stricter web/internet filtering will be implemented as a way to improve network security and help protect students and staff’.

CounterPunch also reported that the school has blocked the sites under the category of ‘AlternativeSexualLifestyles (GLBT)’.

Jay Kaplan, of the American Civil Union Liberties, slammed the decision saying blocking the sties violated the First Amendment to free speech.

Kaplan said: “The use of internet filtering tools to censor websites that advocate for the fair treatment of LGBT+ people is wrong and illegal.

“Many of these websites provide much-needed support and resources for LGBT+ youth during a critical time of their lives.

“By blocking LGBT+ websites, schools are sending a terrible message to students that LGBT+ voices are to be ignored and silenced.”