by Steven Ertelt
October 24, 2007
Stafford, VA (LifeNews.com) — A lawsuit pro-life attorneys filed on behalf of a group of students who were denied official recognition for their pro-life club apparently did the trick. Colonial Forge High School was the latest to come under fire for discriminating against pro-life students and found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the Alliance Defense Fund.
A student at the school wanted to start a pro-life student club on campus and applied for her club to become officially recognized.
Officially recognized student clubs enjoy privileges such as access to the school newspaper, bulletin boards, and the public announcement system, as well as being able to participate in student activities programs and club fairs.
Stafford County School officials denied the student’s application, stating that her pro-life club “does not meet the standard of a direct curricular link.”
The school has relented and David Cortman, an Alliance Defense Fund lawyer, says the decision is a victory for the pro-life students and the First Amendment.
“Christian and pro-life students are not second-class citizens; they are entitled to the same rights as any other student or student group on campus," Cortman told LifeNews.com in a
"This is a victory for students who simply want to exercise their First Amendment right to express pro-life speech," he added.
As a result of the decision, ADF officials voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Stafford County school officials initially denied the student’s application, stating the club did not meet the “standard of a direct curricular link” even though the district had approved other clubs without such a link. ADF attorneys filed suit against the school board on September 12.
“It is discriminatory for school officials to ban a student club based on the content and viewpoints of the group,” said Cortman. “We applaud the school board officials for their decision to allow students who support the sanctity of life the same rights as all other student groups.”
The Stafford County School granted official recognition to other student groups that do not appear to have a “direct curricular link” on campuses within its district, including Young Democrats, Students Against Drunk Driving, and Key Club.
ADF filed the lawsuit for the unnamed student at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. The case was S.H. v. School Board of Stafford County.
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.alliancedefensefund.org