May public schools and public libraries install filters on computer equipment available for public use?
The use of filters by public institutions, such as schools and libraries, has become a hotly contested issue that remains unresolved. At least one Federal court has ruled that a local library board may not require the use of filtering software on all library Internet computer terminals. A possible compromise for public libraries with multiple computers would be to allow unrestricted Internet use for adults, but to provide only supervised access for children. Courts have not ruled on the constitutionality of hate speech filters on public school library computers. However, given the broad free speech rights afforded to students by the First Amendment, it is unlikely that courts would allow school libraries to require filters on all computers available for student use.