High School Principal Caught on Video Stealing Student’s Pro-Life Sign, Blocking Pro-Life Display

State   |   Tom Ciesielka   |   Dec 7, 2016   |   6:46PM   |   Fort Wayne, Indiana

The Fort Wayne Public School Board has received a letter from the Thomas More Society demanding an apology for the alleged disturbing misconduct of South Side High School Principal Carlton Mable.

On November 18, 2016, Mable, in front of students, tried to block pro-life advocates from displaying abortion-condemning signs on the public right of way and prohibit them from providing students with pro-life information. Mable even went so far as to physically wrest a sign away from one pro-life advocate before throwing it to the ground.

Mable’s tirade, caught on video and eventually halted by police, has resulted in the demand issued by attorney Thomas M. Dixon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel and President at Dixon, Wright & Associates, P.C. Acting on behalf of Created Equal and individuals whose First Amendment rights were trampled by Mable, the Thomas More Society has also asked the City of Fort Wayne for reassurances of the continued protection of the pro-life advocates’ constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The letter details how Mable denied Created Equal and its members the right to peaceably assemble and speak on a public sidewalk adjacent to South Side High School by:

  • aggressively approaching them
  • verbally accosting them
  • making threats towards them when he saw that he was being videotaped
  • mischaracterizing a public sidewalk as being school property
  • asserting a false right to “protect” students from being exposed to speech he deemed inappropriate
  • forcefully taking property from them and throwing it into the street
  • flouting and squelching their First Amendment rights in the presence of many students

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The Thomas More Society letter states, “Principal Mable trampled on rights that are enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Articles 2, 3, 4 and 9 of the Indiana Constitution, and are fiercely protected by the United States Supreme Court. Our clients insist on the respect to which they are entitled. We seek written apologies from Principal Mable and School Board Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson, assurances from the School Board that this will not happen again, and guarantees from the City of Fort Wayne that it will continue to uphold free speech rights.”

Mark Harrington, National Director of Created Equal, remarked, “Pro-life activists have been experiencing an increase in vandalism and violence at high school campuses across the country. Unfortunately, to some school officials, public sidewalks are considered their own private property in which they feel they can wield control and censor free speech. Creating unconstitutional ‘safe zones’ in the public square where students can be shielded from unpleasant subjects does a disservice to our youth, and does not prepare these young adults for the real world.”

Read the December 2, 2016, letter sent by Attorney Thomas M. Dixon to Fort Wayne School Board here