Students for Life of America (SFLA) calls Judge’s Noblesville School District decision “an Insult to Parents that Weakens First Amendment Protections,” Additional Legal Steps Under Consideration

Kristi Hamrick - 19 Mar 2024

WASHINGTON D.C./NOBLESVILLE, IN (03-19-2024) – In light of Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s rejection of the defense of students’ First Amendment Rights at Noblesville School District, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called the decision “an insult to parents that weakens First Amendment protections by insisting that a temporary loss of rights is nothing to worry about.” A lawsuit filed against the school district and school officials pivoted on acts of intimidation and deliberate roadblocks, including denial of a request for a Students for Life club despite a student’s effort to follow all known rules. Today, the Noblesville Students for Life is considering further legal action.

Also of note, earlier in the process, attorneys in the case attempted to have Judge Evans Barker removed for her alleged bias in favor of abortion, an issue that could come up again on appeal. In a motion for change of judge, SFLA said: “Plaintiff cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial before this judge because of the personal bias and prejudice of the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker and her impartiality may fairly be questioned. … Judge Evans Barker has consistently ruled against pro-life litigants. Additionally, Judge Evans Barker is on the board of Indiana University Health, which is an abortion provider in Indiana, as well as Methodist Hospital, which also provides abortions. Not all hospitals in Indiana provide abortion services, however, the ones that Judge Evans Barker chooses to associate herself with do.”

“Dealing with a weaponized judicial system is a burden that unfairly falls on pro-life Americans, including in this case, a young girl in high school,” said Hawkins.

Read more here: SFLA Freshman Student Leader Files Suit against Noblesville High School, District and School Leadership Alleging Violations of Free Speech Rights & Intimidation 

In her final decision, Judge Evans Baker said that a parent’s presence at meetings about the pro-life club was somehow inappropriate and that because the school board of trustees had more authority than the principal over the case, the principal was not the final voice in denying a pro-life club.

“We know that too many schools think parents should not have a presence or even a say in their children’s education, and, in this decision, that is extended to the mere presence of a parent at a time in which school officials were acting in ways that were intimidating to a young high school student who wanted the support for her idea,” said Hawkins. “The decision also tries to say that the violation of a student’s rights didn’t really matter because the board of trustees could have made a different call. But in depositions – as cited in the briefing – the authority to make decisions about student groups was delegated to the principal.”

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The Pro-Life Generation (PLG) is an umbrella organization encompassing the most-cutting edge engagement opportunities for a Vote Pro-Life First Community. PLG includes Students for Life Action (SFLAction), a 501c4, along with its 501c3 sister organization, Students for Life of America (SFLA), that together make up the nation’s largest, pro-life youth organization, managing a grassroots political and policy operation engaging Americans of all ages but with a special emphasis on the largest segment of voters — the Youth Vote. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, PLG/SFLA/SFLAction serves more than 1,400 groups on middle, high school, college, medical, and law school campuses in all 50 states. Our team has more conversations with this generation targeted by the abortion lobby than any other pro-life operation in the world, each week reaching more than 4 million across social media platforms and averaging 1.3 million video views. In addition to SFLA/SFLAction, PLG leads multiple initiatives to lead and serve  the future of the pro-life movement including the Campaign for Abortion Free CitiesStanding With You, and the Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement . Over more than 17 years, PLG CEO Kristan Hawkins has grown the operation into a nearly $20M organization, now preparing for an abortion-free America.

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