ACLU Wants Teens to Narc On Homophobe Schools

Jeanne Sager

kids on computerSo you're always saying you want your kids to get off the computer and do something useful. But what if the best way for your kid to make a difference was to park that behind in the chair and do some surfing interwebs style? The ACLU thinks your kids can be the change they need to be in the world straight from the computer lab.

The school computer lab, to be precise. In a project called Don't Filter Me, the ACLU LGBT Project and Yale Law School's LGBT Litigation Clinic are reaching out to teens nationwide to hit up their school's Internet access spots and test the information filters. If they can't access information about gay rights and LGBT support, the ACLU wants to know.

If it sounds like the ACLU is using your kids, well, they are. But it's pretty much the only way they're going to be able to ensure our kids' constitutional rights aren't being impeded. See, technically it's against the law for the schools to block access to these sites -- it's protected under the right to free speech and the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups. Not to mention these sites are GOOD for our kids, whether they're LGBT or not.

For gay teens, access to these sites at school gives them someplace to turn for safe, reliable information and support. Someone to reach out to on the Internet can be the answer between a desperate teen committing suicide and a teen finding their way in the world. Having it at school is necessary because it's a safe place, whereas many gay teens are NOT safe in their own personal homes. For straight teens, this can be the difference between being able to support their LGBT friends and not. It can be the resource they need to broaden their horizons and be up to date on how what they say can hurt other people and how to say things that help.

Want your kids to help other kids? The Don't Filter Me website has a list of sites they can try to visit while at school, and a means for updating the ACLU on how well their school fares.

Would you let your kids do this? Why or why not?

Image via Franklin Park Library/Flickr

Read More