A California-based company that received scrutiny because of an ACLU campaign is believed to be the first major web filter provider to drop a category that allowed schools in Missouri and elsewhere to block students' access to educational websites about gay, lesbian and transgender issues.
Lightspeed Systems is working to reclassify the sites classified as "education.lifestyles." Although the category was accessible under a default setting, it could be activated to block sites focused on what the company described as "alternate lifestyles," particularly those discussing LGBT issues but also those about being vegan or vegetarian.
Questions about the category arose after the American Civil Liberties Union sent letters this spring to about 15 districts as part of a campaign aimed at stopping the filtering of LGBT content. Four customers of Lightspeed Systems—North Kansas City School District in Missouri, Downingtown Area School District in Pennsylvania, Northfield Public Schools in Minnesota and Avoca School District 37 in suburban Chicago—were among those contacted by the ACLU in response to student complaints.
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