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Sioux Falls schools unblocking LGBT resource websites

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- The Sioux Falls School District is unblocking student access to LGBT resource websites after some students complained and equal rights officials weighed in on the matter.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - The Sioux Falls School District is unblocking student access to LGBT resource websites after some students complained and equal rights officials weighed in on the matter.

The sites have been blocked by the school district's Internet filter. Some students said that indicated a bias against the LGBT community. The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota Executive Director Heather Smith said blocking the sites sends a message that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is wrong or shameful.

The district earlier said it errs on the side of student safety when it comes to Internet access. It's now working with the companies that provide Internet filters to unblock LGBT resource sites, district attorney Kate Bartell Nowak told the Argus Leader newspaper.

"We definitely wouldn't intentionally block (those sites)," she said. "They have lots of educational value."

Smith and Ashley Joubert-Gaddis, director of operations for the Sioux Falls Center for Equality, were pleased with the district's response.

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"They saw there was a little bit of concern ... and they made the fix," Joubert-Gaddis said.

Senior Briggs Warren, one of the students upset when access as blocked, said he's pleased that the district is making the change "to ensure all students have access to information they need."

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