A conservative legal organization is planning to pursue action against a public school district in Indiana after administrators removed an anti-abortion’s club posters from a high school’s hallway.
The conservative legal group Liberty Counsel is claiming that the public school district violated the Constitution by censoring the anti-abortion student group’s poster. The poster, which took over 25 hours to make, included hand-painted hearts and the phrase “3,000 Lives Are Ended Each Day.”
“To avoid legal action, please immediately reverse this decision and confirm that the school district will respect the private speech of public school students,” Liberty Counsel Richard L. Mast Jr. wrote in a December 5 letter to Carmel Clay School District Superintendent Nicholas Wahl.
A letter from school officials claims that the district is taking Liberty Counsel’s allegations seriously: “Carmel Clay Schools’ staff and administration are treating the claims made in this letter very seriously,” officials said. “We are reviewing the matter to determine what happened and to respond to our students and community in an appropriate and respectful manner.”
The school district claims that the students had permission to place a poster in the hallway but never specifically had their poster design approved. Administrators also asked the students to refrain from using the word, “abortion,” in club material, in written or oral communications, or on social media. Administrators even went as far as asking students from the club to sign an agreement that would bar them from seeking legal assistance to protect their right to express themselves.
According to a news release from Liberty Counsel, the club members were threatened by administrators to sign an agreement that would bar them from seeking legal assistance or else lose the school’s official recognition of the club. “The club members were threatened that if they did not sign the agreement immediately the club sponsors would be forced to resign, effectively disbanding the club and excluding it from official recognition,”
“Schools also may not censor pro-life viewpoints,” Liberty Counsel’s founder, Mat Staver, said in a statement. “The actions of the school officials are outrageous. … We will hold this school and these officials accountable.”
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org