North Carolina High School Had Denied Pro-Life Student Free Speech, Backs Down
by Steven Ertelt
December 22, 2009
Asheboro, NC (LifeNews.com) — A North Carolina high school is backing down after a pro-life legal group helped a pro-life student who faced a revocation of her free speech rights. Brianna Cardwell wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity sponsored by Stand True Ministries.
The day is an opportunity for students to wear red tape or armbands to show their solidarity with unborn children who can’t speak for themselves.
It features pro-life t-shirts and fliers explaining how abortion kills unborn children and has adversely impacted society.
Caldwell wore a T-shirt with the word abortion crossed out and distributed her fliers during non-instructional time to her classmates that explained her pro-life views.
However, the assistant principal at Randelman High School told her to stop disseminating the literature and said she would be require to keep her jacket on for the remainder of the school day to cover up her shirt.
The female school official confiscated the fliers and said that Cardwells T-shirt and fliers were offensive and violated the separation of church and state.
When Caldwell tried to secure the return of her fliers the next day, school officials refused.
The Alliance Defense Fund stepped in to help Caldwell and sent a letter asserting her rights on her behalf.
The assistant principal responded to that November 24 letter from ADF by giving the fliers back to Cardwell and telling her that she would be able to wear her T-shirt and distribute the fliers in the future.
Today, ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman told LifeNews.com he is pleased with the outcome.
Pro-life students shouldn’t be punished for expressing their beliefs, he said.
"Brianna was simply exercising her constitutionally protected right to free speech but was censored by school officials fearful of urban legends regarding the so-called separation of church and state. In reality, silencing pro-life students simply because they want to exercise their First Amendment rights in a non-disruptive manner is unconstitutional," he added.
The speech of pro-life students, like all other students, is protected under the First Amendment," Cortman concluded.
He said: "We’re glad that Brianna will now be allowed to share her pro-life views from now on without fear of reprisal. We hope more schools will follow Randelmans example in respecting the First Amendment rights of their students.
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org
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