KATY – Several students who spoke at Katy ISD’s board meeting on Monday said they would not be silenced until what they consider to be “LGBTQ discrimination through Internet policies âbe terminated.
School district administrators said the policy in place is to protect all students.
“Definitely discriminatory,” said Cameron Samuels, a final year student at Seven Lakes High School.
Samuels refers to the Katy ISD Internet Policy which school district administrators say is aligned with the Children’s Internet Protection Act or CIPA.
The policy blocks access to websites based on content deemed inappropriate, but Samuels says it also filters critical access to LGBTQ resources.
âWhen a student is on the verge of suicide, it is imperative that they have access to a lifeline like the Trevor Project,â Samuels said.
He said that when Katy ISD students tried to use the school internet to access Project Trevor and other sites aimed at the LGBTQ community, they received a rejection message instead.
Katy ISD officials released the following statement in response to the outrage:
âThe district provides a variety of communications and technology resources that are consistent with its educational goals and compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). As there are billions of websites hosted on the World Wide Web, the content made available to students during the teaching day is reviewed and filtered by a third-party school platform that ensures CIPA compliance. The filtering process takes into account all material that can be found on a website, including hyperlinks to external content such as email, discussion forums and other forms of direct electronic communication – spaces that are often occupied. by minors and adults, and not recommended by CIPA. Guidelines for the responsible use of technology for students in the district can be found here.
Katy ISD didn’t say she was blocking access to websites just because they focused on LGBTQ issues, but rather on content involving “human sexuality,” as seen in a post apparently limiting access. at the Human Rights Campaign website.
Samuels is convinced that the current policy in place sends a strong message in the wrong direction.
âThat they are not, they are not considered to be what they are,â Samuel said.
In addition to a petition with over a thousand signatures, the students submitted a formal request to the technology department, hoping that exceptions would be made to Internet policy. It is not yet clear if and when this will happen.
Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.