Minnesota School District Agrees to Recognize Pro-Life Club

State   Steven Ertelt   Jun 3, 2011   |   12:36PM    Minneapolis, MN

In the wake of a federal lawsuit filed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys on behalf of a student-led pro-life club, Independent School District #885 has granted the club official status at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

The district initially denied the All Life Is Valuable (ALIV) Club official status because it allegedly “does not support the student body as a whole.” Despite that claim, school officials recognized more than a dozen other non-curricular clubs, including the Environmental and Animé clubs, which enjoyed benefits and access previously denied to the ALIV Club.

“Pro-life students should not be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “School officials did the right thing by finally granting the ALIV Club official status and no longer assuming the authority to trump the constitutionally protected rights of students. As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”

Before ADF attorneys filed suit, the principal of St. Michael-Albertville High School denied equal treatment to the ALIV Club, even though District Policy 801 requires the district to grant equal access to student clubs wishing to meet for “religious, political, or philosophical reasons during non-instructional time.”

Hopkins attorney Charles Shreffler, one of more than 2,000 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit, ALIV Club v. Independent School District #885. In light of the district’s decision to recognize the club, a voluntary dismissal of the suit was filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.