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ACLU says Rochester High School is denying students First Amendment rights

Rochester High School, Rochester, Michigan
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Rochester High School, Rochester, Michigan

The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing Rochester High School administrators of denying students their First Amendment rights. The ACLU claims the web filtering software on the school’s computers censors Gay and Lesbian websites.   

Jay Kaplan is with the ACLU of Michigan. He says it's an important legal issue.  

“Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they enter the schoolhouse door. Schools need to take a closer look at this sort of thing.”

Kaplan says if the school district does not change its web filtering software, the ACLU might take Rochester Community Schools to court. 

In a written statement, the Rochester Community Schools says its filtering software is intended to keep it in compliance with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act:  Rochester Community Schools uses internet filtering software in order to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The filtering software used by the district is DeepNines, which is also used by several other districts in Oakland County. Rochester has an established process to review on a case by case basis, the blocking of specific web sites.  

A school district spokeswoman says the district will review the websites cited in the ACLU complaint.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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