Friday, August 19, 2011/Lawrenceville, GA/Alliance Defense Fund --
by David Cortman and Jeremy Tedesco
The Alliance Defense Fund has sent letters to 7 public school districts across the country that urge them to reject the American Civil Liberties Union's demand that they deactivate various Web filters that block student access to websites with sexually explicit material just because some of the sites blocked belong to homosexual activist groups. ADF assured the districts that they are well within their legal rights to retain their filters. The letters provide the districts with a list of sites that display pornographic images and sexual advice that would be accessible to students if the districts give in to the ACLU's demands.
ADF sent a similar letter to Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia earlier this month after the ACLU threatened that district over its Web filter as part of the ACLU's "Don't Filter Me Initiative."
"School districts shouldn't be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. "The 'Don't Filter Me Initiative' would be better named the 'Public School Porn Initiative.' That's because the ACLU is pushing its radical sexual agenda for children by intimidating school districts with a long string of scare tactics disguised as a concern over censorship. In truth, these school districts have no obligation to cave to the ACLU's unwarranted demands. Our children come first."
The ACLU is threatening the seven districts and has already sued one of them in Missouri. The ACLU claims that not allowing children to access sites currently blocked by certain Web filters violates the students' constitutionally protected rights and the federal Equal Access Act.
In response, ADF attorneys sent letters to Camdenton R-III School District (Mo.), Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District (Texas), Oroville Union High School District (Calif.), Little Rock School District (Ark.), Prince William County Public Schools (Va.), Vineland Public School District (N.J.), and Aldine Independent School District (Texas), arguing that the ACLU's arguments are irresponsible and lack legal merit. The letters explain that districts have broad authority over what materials students may access on the Internet. ADF also explains that the ACLU's demands could result in the districts violating state laws that prohibit distributing harmful sexual materials to minors.
In the case of Prince William County Public Schools, ADF attempted to e-mail its letter to district officials, but the district's e-mail filter rejected the transmission as containing "offensive content" because the letter references the sexually explicit content of websites that the ACLU wants students at the school to be able to access.
"The materials that the ACLU wants children exposed to is sexually explicit enough that just mentioning them in an e-mail to adult district officials triggers an 'offensive content' filter," said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "The ACLU cannot mask its attempts to turn school computers into porn portals for children with a supposed concern for censorship. Parents expect schools to be places where their children learn--not places where they access pornography."