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Va. school district forced to remove computer filter

Monday - 5/30/2011, 6:35am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

INDEPENDENT HILL, Va. - A national campaign by the ACLU called "Don't Filter Me" has forced one local school district to change the filters on school computers used by students.

The ACLU of Virginia sent a letter to Prince William County Schools questioning a filtering system that blocked content solely related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender information.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in partnership with Yale Law School, launched the campaign earlier this year to assess censorship of Web content in public high schools.

The civil liberties group says that is an unconstitutional block on free access. It's an argument the ACLU has made in lawsuits against several school districts across the country.

Now the Prince William district has changed the filter to follow the letter of the law.

"Because it's been deemed to be within that balance of protecting students' freedom of speech and equal access and what is mandatory for us to legally block," says Prince William spokesman Ken Blackstone.

He says the revised filtering system will still block pornography.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)