Pro-life club banned by US high school

Pro-life students in the US are being treated like “second-class citizens” at their high school because of their desire to protect unborn children from being aborted.

Students Grace Schairer and Elizabeth Castro were told by Parkland High School in Pennsylvania that a pro-life club at their school could be “disruptive” and were banned from starting one.

The students were also told that such a club could be a “safety issue” for other students.

‘Culture of life’

Schairer and Castro have now filed a federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Schairer said the aim of the club is “to educate our fellow students about abortion and at the same time be a visible resource for our peers facing unplanned pregnancies”.

“The school is treating us like second-class citizens because we want to create a culture of life and be a positive influence to our peers”, she added.

‘Illegal and unconstitutional’

In May, the students were told they would be allowed to start a club, as long as they made certain changes. These included rewriting the club’s mission statement and seeking approval for volunteering at pregnancy resource centres.

The students are being supported in their case by legal group the Thomas More Society.

Jocelyn Floyd, special counsel for the group, said the school’s demands “are a far cry from the law’s requirement that schools treat student clubs equally in every respect”.

“We hope that the court will quickly recognize the illegal and unconstitutional way the school has treated Liz and Grace and require Parkland High School to uphold their rights under both the First Amendment and Equal Access Act”, she added.

Positive message

Last year in the UK, an editor of a student newspaper claimed that pro-life societies should be banned by university student unions because they seek to ‘oppress’ half of all people on campus.

Rikki Loftus, the Belfast Editor of the Tab, wrote that “if students’ unions want to maintain the idea that they represent their students, they have a moral obligation to ban pro-life groups”.

Loftus also claimed that pro-lifers “represent everything that is backwards and wrong in Northern Ireland”.

Shaping views

However, the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) told The Christian Institute that pro-life societies are vital in presenting the message of life to students.

Alithea Williams, Vice-Chairman of APS, said: “Universities are where the leaders of tomorrow shape their views, and university is often the only place where the students get a chance to hear the pro-life message.”

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