WASHINGTON D.C. (04-10-18) –Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins noted that more than 300 students or student groups from across the country have contacted SFLA about their plans to participate tomorrow in the #ProlifeWalkout, a student-initiated event inspired by California High School Student Brandon Gillespiewho wanted to take a stand for life, for mothers and their preborn infants and against wasting taxpayer dollars at Planned Parenthood after fellow students participated in the anti-gun walkout.
“The Pro-life Generation has every right to exercise their free speech freedoms in defense of pregnant and parenting students,” said Hawkins. “But we have found that some administrations have not embraced students who care about lives lost to abortion as they cared about lives lost to gun violence. But you can’t open the door to those students who care about one issue, and close it to all others. Abortion has taken the lives of one-fourth of this generation, and we will remember those we’ve lost on Wednesday.”
Gillespie noted that his school, Rocklin High School, for more than week delayed letting him know whether he would get the same support for his the #ProLifeWalkout that anti-gun activists received. The answer was essentially no. He said: “They are not giving me any accommodation at all, except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting. That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use. I really was not surprised when they told me that they were not going to give me the accommodations and that they were not going to sanction this walkout as they did the previous one. It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there.”
Attorneys from Life Legal Defense Foundation are contacting the school to outline the rights of Gillespie and other pro-life students. On Monday, April 9th, the school sent the letter found here.
Alexandra Snyder, Life Legal Defense Foundation’s executive director added, “This is a blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism. Rocklin High School’s decision treat the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout. Life Legal is proud to fight for Brandon Gillespie’s rights to be treated the same as other students and to speak up for the nearly one quarter of his generation that will die from the scourge of abortion.”
Sadly, such legal help is often necessary.
Students for Life Jr. Vice President of Communications Matt Lamb has been working with students who also have faced resistance to a #ProLifeWalkout. He noted, “Some schools have initially refused to give the same accommodation to pro-life students, usually saying it’s because standing for life is ‘too controversial’ or ‘too political.’ For the most part that means students would not be given an excused absence or teacher support regarding tests or homework. But along with Life Legal Defense Foundation, we’re letting students know their rights. Educating both students and school administrators is a big part of all campus events.”
At Gillespie’s school, the walkout that was inspired after his history teacherJulianne Benzel was suspended for talking with students about whether pro-life students would get the same support for their human rights concerns as those who engaged in the walkout. Also at the Rocklin walkout will be her two daughters, exercising their rights to advocate for women and their preborn infants.
On Wednesday, you can see some of the Walkouts in a series of Facebook live events at Students for Life of America. Pictures and videos will also be available.
For more information about tools available for students interested in the #ProlifeWalkout click here.
Students interested in starting a Students for Life chapter on their high school or college campuses, can get more information by contacting SFLA here.
For more information or an interview, e-mail [email protected]
Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, Students for Life has more than 1,200 groups on college and high school campuses located in all fifty states.