If you’re a gay teen in Gwinnett, good luck to you. Despite evidence that LGBT teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than straight classmates, your school system makes it easier to become “ex-gay” than proud and gay. The ACLU of Georgia has put Gwinnett County Public Schools and Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks (photo) on notice that it may sue if the state’s largest school system doesn’t stop filtering out LGBT sites. The school system, which makes no apologies for hitting the censor button, says it’s looking into the ACLU’s complaints. In the meantime, the issue has fueled a firestorm of reaction that generally falls into three camps: Gwinnett sucks for keeping students from learning more about LGBT issues – and quite possibly becoming more comfortable in their own skin, the gays suck and Gwinnett schools shouldn’t provide a place to learn more about LGBT stuff, and block them all or block none of it. But since our first story on the topic, students in Gwinnett are speaking out and making this point: LGBT sites are filtered out, but ones that offer “cures” for gay students, including Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays and Exodus International, are allowed on school computers and not blocked by the filters. Our post struck a chord with readers, who unleashed a chorus of comments. Ashbrookguy summed up the camp that says – we’re paraphrasing here – Gwinnett sucks.
How can anyone expect anything more from a district that supported Newt Gingrich for multiple terms in office? This is a "white flight" area of the Atlanta suburb of Marrietta........bigots, morons, and religious fanatics live in this city and county!Mikhastur, a graduate of Gwinnett’s Parkview High School, discussed how school computers open to the Internet can help gay students who feel isolated.
As a 1986 graduate of Parkview High school, I urge the GCPS to remove these filters. When I was in school in Gwinnett County, there was nowhere to turn for help as a gay teenager. I often felt scared and alone. Today, the internet is a great source of information for LGBT youth, who often are not only bullied at school, but also at home and church. Gay teens have significantly higher suicide and homelessness rates, specifically because of the rejection they face at the hands of their peers & family. Organizations like the Trevor Project that specializes in suicide prevention among LGBT youth are important resources that may well be blocked by such internet filters, as are the messages of hope and affirmation available through the It Gets Better Project. School should be both a place of learning and safety for *all* our students, including the gay ones.TechConsultant warns that the ACLU and LGBT activists shouldn’t be too quick to rush to judgment.
School districts block a lot of sites that are not instructional in nature. If it is not directly related to the curriculum, it isn't allowed in many of the districts that I do contract work for. Instead of flagging these folks as sexual bigots, perhaps you should check in to their reasons for blocking LGBT sites. They may have even blocked other unrelated sites at the same time. Many districts also have policies against allowing personal computers and handheld devices from connecting to their networks. So that kid that is afraid of getting beatup is going to have to access those websites in labs where other students can see what they are doing. I do not believe that this is as big an issue as Liberals would have us believe.As for the school system’s contention that students could ask to view LGBT sites, Davidcom rebuts that argument with this:
OH yes. a 15 year old gay kid who is afraid of being beat up and being discriminated against is going to go the administration of his/her high school and ask them to unblock the Trevor Project. Sheesh. Are these people stupid or evil?The debate over the issue remained pretty civil in our post. That's not the case on WSB, which received nearly 100 comments on its Facebook page when they posted their story. Many are similar to one offered by Darlene Standridge:
GLBT, PRAYER, GOD, It was all suppose to be coved under the 1st Admendment. They took GOD,and PRAYER out of school, but they left all they immorral acts and thoughts in,,to be taught. Everyone one wonders what is happening with our kids these days. We only have ourselves to blame for letting all this go on, so you can call me names, yell at me, and say whatever, but the truth is what it is. It is slapping everyone in the face and no one wants to acknowledge it.At least Josh Garner was clever with his remark:
If they can't learn about Adam and Eve, they should not learn about Adam and Steve.