by Steven Ertelt
October 17, 2006
Pasadena, MD (LifeNews.com) — A Maryland high school that faced pressured from a pro-life law firm has relented and will allow pro-life students to distribute literature later this month opposing abortion. The school previously told students they could not pass out the fliers because it considered the pro-life content "inflammatory."
After involvement by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, a student banned from promoting a pro-life event on her high school campus is no longer being denied her free speech rights.
Officials at Northeast Senior High School had informed the student that she would not be permitted to distribute and post flyers announcing the “Day of Silent Solidarity,” a student-led event designed to heighten awareness about the number of babies aborted each year.
“Pro-life speech is entitled to the same rights under the First Amendment as any other type of speech," ADF senior legal counsel Brian Raum said in a press release LifeNews.com obtained.
“We are pleased the school chose to drop its unconstitutional ban on this type of student-led expression," Raum added. "Other schools should follow their example in respecting the First Amendment rights of their students.”
According to school policy, students and student groups are allowed to distribute and post literature in connection with their activities after obtaining permission from school officials. However, the officials told Hilary Humphrey and other pro-life students they would not be allowed to promote the event, which occurs Oct. 24, because the officials considered the materials to be “inflammatory.”
Humphrey contacted ADF, and Raum sent a letter to school officials, informing them of the students’ rights under the Constitution. As a result, the school agreed to allow Humphrey and other pro-life students to promote their event.
“The Supreme Court ruled nearly 40 years ago in Tinker v. Des Moines that students do not shed their constitutional right to free speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” Raum explained. “Students cannot be silenced simply because their speech is deemed to be controversial or unpopular.”
The decision comes soon after another case in California where a school reversed its position on preventing students from wearing pro-life t-shirts. state1843.html
Two middle school students were admonished by school officials for wearing pro-life shirts with the message "Help Cure Abortion." After administrative complaint filed by Pacific Justice Institute attorneys, the school relented.
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org
Humphrey letter – https://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/HumphreyLetter.pdf