PA: High School Censors Pro-Life Club

PA: High School Censors Pro-Life Club
Pro-life activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington.

Reports of a Pennsylvania high school administration labeling a Pro-Life club as too "Controversial" and "Political" are the latest to ignite controversy around freedom of speech and censorship. A high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania has received a demand letter from the Thomas More Society on behalf of students who claim they were denied permission to form a pro-life club at the school.

Breitbart News reports that according to Students for Life of America, last fall senior Elizabeth Castro and junior Grace Schaier applied for a pro-life club at Parkland High School using the standard process. When the original required faculty adviser withdrew, the students found another adviser and submitted their application, only to be verbally denied by the assistant principal, who claimed the pro-life group would be too “political” and “controversial.”

Castro subsequently sent an email to the assistant principal, noting that other groups – such as the Gay Straight Alliance, the Multi-Cultural Leadership Club, the Political Science Club, and the Fashion Club – were also in existence, but received no response.

“We met all the requirements of Parkland High School to start a club at the school and were denied simply because we are pro-life,” said Castro. “The school is not only denying my right to start a group but denying the opportunity for others at my school to learn about the greatest human rights social injustice of our time.”

Castro says the purpose of the club is to “create a life-affirming culture at our school, educate our peers on the issue of life, hold diaper drives to support pregnant and parenting students, and become a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.” A demand letter from the Thomas More Society to Parkland High School principal James E. Moniz II, assistant principal Jude Sandt, and superintendent Richard T. Sniscak states in part: 

“Students do not shed their First Amendment rights at the school house gate,” the letter continues. “Accordingly, a school may not permit some students to organize and express themselves on particular topics while forbidding others the same right—this creates an atmosphere where only ‘approved’ speech is permitted and violates the First Amendment as a content-based restriction.”

“There is absolutely no question that the law protects the right of these students to form this club at their high school,” says Jocelyn Floyd, Thomas More Society special counsel, in a statement.

“This administration’s denial of a pro-life club is especially surprising, because this district’s policy expressly allows students to form clubs with ‘any lawful objective.’”

The letter from Thomas More Society demands that Parkland High School immediately approve the application for the Students for Life club.

Breitbart News copy / TRUNEWS summary. 

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