A lawsuit over access to LGBT-related websites at a mid-Missouri public school was heard today in federal court in Jefferson City.
The case involves filtering software used by the Camdenton R-3 school district’s library. The suit was filed by Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Tony Rothert, Legal Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, says the Camdenton Schools' library uses filtering software that blocks any mention of sex, not just pornography.
“Students are unable to access any information that’s positive about gay, lesbian or transgendered people," Rothert said. "The filter they’re using categorizes everything that’s negative about gay and lesbian people as religion, and they don’t block religion...students are free to access all kinds of information with the opposite viewpoint: that gay people are evil, lesbians are damned."
Tom Mickes is an attorney representing Camdenton schools.
“No school district has the manpower to check every one of those websites, so they’re blocked until somebody, a faculty member or a student, requests access," Mickes said. "If they’re not pornographic, obscene or inappropriate, we open them up."
Mickes also accuses the ACLU of using the lawsuit to intimidate school districts.
"They want (a) screening (system) that is more politically correct," Mickes said. "It's not the school district's job to keep the ACLU happy; it's the school district's job to keep our students safe."
A ruling in the case has not been issued.