STUDENTS FOR LIFE CLUB AT VEGAS HIGH SCHOOL CENSORED; SCHOOL GETS DEMAND LETTER
Amy Dockter-Rozar, Principal of West Career and Technical Academy, and the Clark County School District have received a demand letter from the Thomas More Society, on behalf of sophomore Angelique Clark and Students for Life of America. The letter charges that school administrators have unconstitutionally discriminated against Angelique by denying her the right to form a Students for Life club at West Career and Technical Academy.
This is the third demand letter that Students for Life of America and the Thomas More Society have sent this semester in support of high school students who were censored by their school administers.
“No high school administrator has the right to deny pro-life students their free speech rights,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Brave students like Angelique set amazing examples for their peers both in their own communities and on a national level by standing up not only for the preborn and their mothers facing unplanned pregnancies, but for their own First Amendment rights as well. We are so proud of Angelique, who reached out to Students for Life of America for assistance, and for our attorneys at the Thomas More Society for their help to make Angelique’s Students for Life group an official, school-based club, with the same rights as her peers.”
Angelique Clark, a sophomore at West Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, submitted her application to start a Students for Life club in December 2014. After months of no response from the school administration, she was finally told by her advisor in February 2015 that Vice Principal Mr. Allan Yee had denied the club. Angelique met with Mr. Yee and was given a variety of reasons why the club could not be approved, including that abortion was “controversial,” that a pro-life club would make pro-choice people feel left out, and that there were others “more qualified” to speak on the issue than a high school sophomore.
“I am not asking the administration to agree with my pro-life position,” said Angelique Clark, sophomore at West Career and Technical Academy. “I am simply asking the school to give pro-life students at West Career and Technical Academy the opportunity to make our voices heard. We want to discuss our view on an important topic – why choosing life is important. This may be a controversial issue, but that doesn’t mean we should lose our right to free speech.”
“Denying students their right to form a pro-life club on the grounds that it’s ‘too controversial’ and ‘not inclusive’ is an affront to the First Amendment,” said Jocelyn Floyd, Associate Counsel of Thomas More Society. “High school administrators should encourage their students to engage in dialogue on important societal issues, not censor the message simply because there are differing viewpoints.”
As Thomas More Society states in their demand letter, the school’s refusal to allow the Students for Life club constitutes a violation of the students’ rights under both the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All students who wish to form non-curricular clubs must be treated equally, even if the clubs they wish to form are religious or political.
Students for Life of America and the Thomas More Society request that the principal promptly approve the Students for Life club at West Career and Technical Academy.
Link to the demand letter here: https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/150521-SFLA-WCTA-Letter-to-Principal-and-Superintendent-Jocelyn-and-Mark-Signature-redacted_Redacted.pdf.