Katie ISD Removes LGBTQ Filters + Internet Resources

The change comes after a former student and the ACLU filed a First Amendment complaint.

Katie, Texas – Katie ISD Reverses path and allows access to pre-filtered LGBTQ+ Internet resources.

The change comes after a former student and the ACLU filed a First Amendment complaint.

The student has since graduated and is in college, but says the decision shouldn’t have taken that long.

“This started by speaking at the school board meeting in November of last year,” said Cameron Samuels, a former student at Katy ISD.

Samuels led the mission to make Katy ISD to expand the range of accessible websites for LGBTQ+ individuals at Katy’s schools.

“When students try to access vital resources and emphasize online content to their queer identities and see that these resources are blocked by district policy, this sends a clear message that they are not seen as valid,” Samuels said.

“After years of denying access to vital resources… such as the Trevor Project, students at nine district high schools can now visit websites previously blocked by a discriminatory ‘human race’ filter,” the ACLU said.

“Many of these sites already provide important anti-bullying and suicide prevention resources,” said Attorney Brian Closterbur, an attorney with the ACLU.

Katy ISD responded by saying that the content is being filtered through a third-party vendor.

“The county routinely evaluates filtering practices, as well as responds to requests from individuals and organizations to review sites. On occasion, sites that may have previously been inaccessible due to Child Online Protection Act concerns,” the county said.

“As a government entity, they can’t try to crack down on certain ideas and certainly they can’t censor the very existence of LGBTQ students,” Kloesterboer said.

Samuels describes attempts to limit LGBTQ+ content as an outright violation of the First Amendment.

“These sites did not have adult content but they were accused of it and blocked because the district felt this was not something that students should be able to access,” he said.

The district says its goal, “is to support the learning, safety, and well-being of all children. Parents and students are always encouraged to contact the campus or district leadership with questions or concerns about accessibility of content.”

The district has only modified content filtering for high school students at Katy ISD.

Katy ISD’s full statement on the situation can be read below:

“Katy ISD is committed to providing safe learning environments for all students, both in the classroom and online. Internet content is filtered across Katy ISD rating levels through adult content filters by a third party vendor to ensure compliance with the Child Online Protection Act (in addition to that). , the District routinely evaluates filtering practices, as well as responds to requests from individuals and organizations to review sites.On occasion, sites that may have previously been inaccessible due to CIPA concerns may be re-available due to modifications made by the site owner or internal modifications that allow The district addresses problem areas on the site, such as chat rooms that may be open to both minors and adults – which is not in compliance with CIPA guidelines Our goal as a district is to support the learning, safety and wellbeing of all children Parents and students are always encouraged to contact the campus or district leadership with questions or concerns about the accessibility of the content.”

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