TN School Districts Settle ACLU Lawsuit Over Gay Websites
Two of Tennessee’s largest school districts have a settled lawsuit filed by the ACLU, and agreed to let students access websites deemed “LGBT Friendly.” The schools were blocking access to several websites deemed “gay supportive” – including the sites of national gay rights groups.The ACLU brought the suit in May against the districts, claiming the filtering was a violation of the first amendment.
In June, the schools agreed to allow access to the sites, but the two sides reached an official settlement this week, and the judge dismissed the case. But ACLU of Tennessee staff attorney Tricia Herzfeld says the judge left the door open in case there’s an issue in the future.
Herzfeld: “If they were to decide to change their filtering, their access to LGBT information, they would have to notify us within 14 days of whatever that change is, and the court has agreed to retain jurisdiction for that purpose. To take it back up if something were to happen.”
Herzfeld says the settlement has reached far beyond just the two districts involved in the suit.
Herzfeld: “There were 107 school districts in Tennessee that had this issue, that were blocking the LGBT information. Once the two schools agreed to stop blocking that and got the filtering software changed, our understanding is that all 107 schools followed suit.
A school spokesperson told the Knoxville News-Sentinel the district is “pleased” with the result.