An Indiana high school student whose teachers called her “bigoted” for trying to start a pro-life club won a victory in her case Thursday against the Noblesville School District, according to her attorneys.
Though the student’s lawsuit is not over yet, attorney Zac Kester of Charitable Allies in Indianapolis said they reached a partial agreement with the school district this week to allow the student to begin her pro-life club.
The student, a freshman identified only as E.D., sued the Noblesville school district last year after she tried to start a pro-life club affiliated with Students for Life of America at her high school.
Kester said most of school officials’ arguments against the club involved their disapproval of E.D.’s handling of the application process – an unwritten, unpublished, uncommunicated protocol known to varying degrees only to four school officials.
“E.D. has suffered immense harm as she was unable to promote the opportunity to attend the March for Life or the National Pro-Life Summit in what may very well be Roe v. Wade’s last anniversary as it is,” Kester said.
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Last summer, E.D. began the process of trying to start a pro-life club at her high school, according to the lawsuit.
The Indianapolis Star reports Noblesville High School principal Craig McCaffrey initially approved the pro-life club in August, but he later revoked its approval after issues arose with a flyer that E.D. wanted to display and her mother’s attendance at a meeting to discuss the disputed flyer.
“At this point, I am not confident that this club is a student-driven club and therefore am removing the club’s approval to meet in school,” McCaffrey wrote in an email to E.D.’s mother after the meeting. He also said the school does not allow flyers that are “political or that could disrupt the school environment,” according to the report.
Later, after E.D.’s pastor wrote a column in the local newspaper about the dispute, several teachers at the high school 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 would face such hostility.
“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 allow her pro-life club, but it allows other student clubs that promote specific points of view, including Young Democrats, a conservation club, Black Students Union, and Gender and Sexual Alliance.
A spokesperson for the school district told the Star it has allowed pro-life clubs in the past.
“School administration did recently have to redirect this club — not because of the beliefs of the student or mission of the club — but due to multiple instances of disregard for school protocols,” the spokesperson said. “We’re currently working to ensure club compliance with state laws and school policy.”
Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said pro-life students like E.D. are making a huge impact for life.
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 to other clubs, trigger warning mandates and more.
“In addressing abortion—the human rights issue of our day—we have no time to waste as popular culture and a well-funded abortion industry targets young women, pressuring them to end young life by taking away their hope for a future,” Hawkins said. “At Students for Life of America, we’ve seen how personal engagement with loving, pro-life friends saves lives, and we are proud to fight for our student’s right to have a voice in her school.”
LifeNews Note: File photo.