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Double Standard: Some School Administrators Slow to Approve Pro-Life Student Walkout

Pro-Life Groups Olivier DoulieryGetty
Olivier Douliery/Getty

Some of the pro-life students who will walk out of class Wednesday to remember those of their generation lost to abortion have found their school administrators slower to accommodate their desire to protest than they were to accommodate the pro-gun control walkout on March 14.

For example, Brandon Gillespie, the Rocklin High School junior from the Sacramento area who has organized the #ProLifeWalkout  event, noted that his school officials – for more than a week – delayed letting him know if he would get the same support for his event that anti-gun activists received for theirs.

“They are not giving me any accommodation at all, except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting,” Gillespie said in a statement. “That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible in their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use.”

Gillespie said he was not surprised by the school district’s decision not to sanction the pro-life walkout or give him the accommodations they gave the anti-gun activist students.

“It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there,” he said:

Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins, whose organization is helping Gillespie and his friends with support and contacts, said, despite the double standard, “more than 350 students and student group leaders from across the country have contacted Students for Life about their plans to stand with pregnant and parenting students on April 11.”

On Wednesday, the pro-life students will walk out of their schools for 17 minutes at 10:00 a.m. in all time zones – as did students who participated in the gun control walkout on March 14.

“The Pro-life Generation has every right to exercise their free speech rights in defense of pregnant and parenting students,” said Hawkins. “But we have found that some administrations have not embraced students who care about lives lost to abortion as they did students who cared about lives lost to gun violence. But you can’t open the door to one group of students and close it to another. Abortion has taken the lives of one-fourth of this generation, and we will remember those we’ve lost on Wednesday.”

The students will also be protesting taxpayer dollars funding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions:

Attorneys from Life Legal Defense Foundation have contacted Davis Stewart, principal of Rocklin High School (RHS), to outline the rights of Gillespie and other pro-life students.

In a letter to Stewart, Life Legal senior staff counsel Allison K. Aranda and executive director Alexandra Snyder wrote, “RHS granted permission for students to engage in certain expressive activity, including leaving class and gathering in the amphitheater, to support gun control legislation,” adding, “It may not withhold similar permission from those seeking to engage in the identical expressive activity to support legal protection for the unborn”:

“This is a blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism,” Snyder said in a statement. “Rocklin High School’s decision treats the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout, which violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout.”

Gillespie told Breitbart News he was inspired to organize the pro-life walkout by his history teacher, Julianne Benzel, who was placed on paid leave for questioning if students against abortion would be permitted to walk out of class in the same way thousands of students walked out of class during instruction time on March 14 to promote gun control.

Complaints were made against Benzel by some parents and students who said her questions to her students were “anti-abortion,” resulting in the teacher being placed on leave:

Family Research Council (FRC) is one of the primary sponsors of the pro-life student walkout.

“This generation is showing no fear in the face of liberal bias in the classroom and on their university campuses,” Patrina Mosley, FRC’s director of Life, Culture and Women’s Advocacy, told Breitbart News in a statement. “There are some things that pro-life students are seeing as more important than getting their peers’ and teachers’ approval. We pray this trend will continue – where the moral conscience of our nation is rising, the voices of victims of the abortion industry become louder, the wounded become warriors, and abortion becomes unthinkable”:

More information about tools available for students interested in the #ProlifeWalkout can be found here.

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