Several Indiana public school teachers are accused of posting defamatory statements about a student online after she tried to start a pro-life club in the Noblesville School District, according to a lawsuit filed this week in federal court.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, which is helping the student, slammed school authorities for discriminating against the student because of her pro-life views.
“The degree to which adults in authority attempted to intimidate a high school freshman is astonishing,” Hawkins said.
Charitable Allies, Inc., of Indianapolis, filed the lawsuit this week on behalf of the student, a minor referred to as E.D., in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana. It names the Noblesville School District, the high school and several school leaders and teachers.
According to the lawsuit, E.D. has been working since July to start a pro-life club at the high school, but school leaders repeatedly blocked her effort with “unwritten, unexplained criteria for participation in the life of the school.”
The lawsuit argues that school leaders have “unbridled discretion (that) allows them to create a culture that permits discrimination based on content and viewpoint.”
Teachers also posted defamatory statements on social media about the student, using her name and calling her pro-life views “bigoted” and “misogynistic,” according to the lawsuit.
A freshman, E.D. said she had no idea that her plans to help mothers and babies would face such hostility.
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“I wanted to start this club to inspire like-minded students to advocate for our most vulnerable and point students to resources designed to uplift them in their time of need,” she said in a statement. “I knew some people would disagree with me, but I never expected to be attacked online—especially by my teachers.”
According to Students for Life, the school refused to approve her pro-life club, but it has approved other student clubs that promote specific points of view, including Young Democrats, Conservation club, Black Students Union, and Gender and Sexual Alliance.
Zac Kester, CEO and managing attorney of Charitable Allies, said public school districts cannot reject a student club just because school leaders disagree with its views.
“Public schools should be eager to support an inclusive environment that showcases a variety of viewpoints,” Kester said. “Students shouldn’t have to be afraid of teachers and administrators bullying them for their beliefs.”
Unfortunately, viewpoint discrimination has become increasingly common across the U.S., Hawkins said. She pointed to a long list of recent incidents targeting pro-life students, including vandalism, threats, a pattern of unexplained administrative delays, schools refusing to provide the same accommodations and opportunities to pro-life clubs that they do for other clubs, trigger warning mandates and more.
“Noblesville High School officials went all out to ensure that a minor girl could not speak in their presence about her love for mothers and their children, born and preborn, and that she would keep quiet at school,” Hawkins said. “Parents in Noblesville must surely be concerned about school officials using media to attack a pro-life girl.”
LifeNews Note: File photo.