by Steven Ertelt
March 28, 2007
Monroe, MI (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge on Monday issued a permanent injunction requiring Jefferson Middle School officials to recognize the free speech rights of a pro-life student who wanted to wear a T-shirt with a message against abortion. The shirt was worn in participation in a national day for students to oppose abortion.
Michael Amble-Lucas wanted to participate in the “Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity," a national day where pro-life students place tape over their mouth to "speak up" for the unborn children silenced by abortion.
School administrators prohibited him from doing so, but the court’s injunction allows him to participate.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, filed suit of behalf of the student in the case M.A.L. v. Kinsland in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on January 23.
“We’re glad that the judge affirmed that students do not sacrifice their constitutional right to free speech once they enter the schoolhouse door,” ADF Litigation Counsel Delia van Loenen told LifeNews.com in a statement.
“The judge saw that the school had acted wrongly when it tried to censor our client’s message. This decision is another important victory for the constitutional rights of all students," van Loenen said.
When Amble-Lucas attempted to express his pro-life viewpoint to his classmates by handing out literature and wearing red tape along with a sweatshirt that read, “Pray to End Abortion,” he was sent to the principal’s office.
School administrators ordered him to change his clothes so that the pro-life message on his sweatshirt could not be seen, and he was prohibited from passing out leaflets.
After holding an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 30, Judge Victoria Roberts issued a preliminary injunction against the school officials who had stopped Amble-Lucas from handing out pro-life information to his fellow students during non-instructional time.
On Monday, she converted the preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction, securing the student’s right to communicate his pro-life views to his classmates.
“Pro-life speech is not second-class speech,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron J. Babione. “It has the same protections as all other speech under the Constitution, and this victory is an affirmation of the most basic of our constitutional rights.”
Attorney Steven Jentzen of Ypsilanti served as co-counsel on the case.
“This is a tremendous victory for the most basic of our constitutional rights,” Jentzen said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained. “Pro-life speech should not be treated as second-class speech. It has the same protections under the Constitution as all other forms of expression.”
The Alliance Defense Fund filed lawsuits on behalf of several students across the nation that were prevented from participating in the event.
Related web sites:
Michigan opinion – https://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/MALInjunction.pdf
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org