Is It Unconstitutional to Filter the Web?

Apr 26, 2012

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Let me start by saying that Web-filtering software is critical for our public schools. It allows schools to block students' access to pornographic and suggestive websites, which is in accordance with federal law. I can't think of a single parent or rational adult that would suggest that our children being exposed to pornography while at public school is acceptable. Filters are necessary for schools in order to protect young eyes from seeing images that can have negative after-effects.

Here is where things get a little complicated. The American Civil Liberties Union launched a campaign in 2011 “to prevent viewpoint-discriminatory censorship of positive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) web content in public schools nationwide.”The ACLU says that “When public school districts block these LGBT categories, [it] violates students' rights under the First Amendment.”

Frankly this campaign has irrationally turned into a “witch hunt” to eradicate filtering in our public schools. I can understand the concept of not blocking a website or content type based on sexual preference, lifestyle choices or religion, but eliminating filtering altogether is not the solution.

There is a difference between blocking pornography and blocking as the ACLU say “positive LGBT web content.” Eliminating filters altogether doesn't resolve anything.

As responsible adults we don't want young children exposed to any kind of pornography “regardless of the sexual preferences of those being filmed or photographed.”

What the ACLU doesn't give regard to is that if schools didn't filter internet content, thousands of children could potentially be exposed to hard-core pornography and other inappropriate material.

The solution is not to eliminate filtering in our schools, but instead to get accurate filters that block harmful content without blanket generalizations based on a single word or phrase appearing on a page.

What do you think?