CT High School Students for Life Group Wins Free Speech Battle
A Students for Life of America (SFLA) affiliate at the public high school in Branford, Connecticut won its battle for free speech Wednesday when school administrators agreed to permit the organization the same opportunities on campus as are afforded other student groups.
As Breitbart News reported on March 11th, Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Branford Students for Life, sent a letter to Branford Public Schools demanding that high school administrators reverse restrictions imposed upon this specific group. The pro-life student group asserted it was informed its members were not permitted to host educational tables during lunchtime, to distribute recruitment and educational material, or to host events during the school day.
“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom, who represented the group, in a press release. “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs. We commend Branford Public Schools for reversing the restrictions that prevented the students from distributing pro-life literature and clipboarding to their friends and classmates during free time.”
President of SFLA Kristan Hawkins said the grassroots campaign and the follow-through with Alliance Defending Freedom’s letter to Branford administrators led the school district to do “the right thing.”
“Once again, the First Amendment rights of pro-life students have been restored and another school administration has learned that freedom of speech has applied equally, to all students, no matter what their personal beliefs may be,” Hawkins said in the release. “Simply speaking out and educating students on a controversial issue is not enough ground for censorship. In fact, it is issues like abortion that need to be discussed the most on high school campuses.”
In February, SFLA won a similar First Amendment battle at Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington, where the affiliate student group at the school was refused permission to hang its pro-life posters in the school because they were told school policy prohibited posters that were offensive to staff or students or that cause “disruption.”
In the case of Wilson High School, however, while school officials agreed to allow the student pro-life group to host its events, they also decided that no student groups would be permitted to post flyers advocating for their cause.
“On behalf of Branford High School Students for Life and on behalf of all abortion abolitionists across the nation, I am honored to say that another victory for the pre-born has been won,” said Sam Bailey-Loomis, founder and president of Branford Students for Life, in the press release. “While difficult, the stand we have taken will ultimately have a positive impact on our community and on the lives of so many.”
“I want to encourage pro-life activists of all ages to take a stand for life, even if it seems impossible,” added Bailey-Loomis. “Nothing is impossible when you stand for truth and justice.”