The National Coalition Against Censorship has issued the following statement of support for Texas HB 1945
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is an alliance of more than 50 national non-profit literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups that are united in their commitment to freedom of expression. NCAC is writing in support of Texas House Bill 1945 which limits the scope of internet filters in schools.
We believe this bill is necessary because many internet filters are overly broad and may block access to valuable educational materials. In a recent case in Monroe County, Florida, a student was unable to complete their homework at school because the assigned video was on Youtube, a site the school had entirely blocked. In another incident in this school, filters blocked access to religious websites including the Vatican and Jewish learning sites.
Moreover, in addition to the overbroad blocks that occur as a result of keyword filtering, filters can be used to limit students’ access to materials of educational value because school officials disagree with the viewpoint expressed therein. For instance, in Texas, student activist Cameron Samuels brought to light the internet content filter at Katy Independent School District, which blocked websites labeled “alternative sexual lifestyles: GLBT” including Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, and PFLAG. We have seen similar internet filters targeting “Alternative Lifestyles” used in Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina, Billings Public Schools in Montana, libraries throughout Alabama, and at numerous other public institutions across the country.
Therefore, we urge the Texas Legislature to enact House Bill 1945.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
Since its inception in 1974, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy. Representing 59 national education, publishing, and arts organizations, NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level. It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced.