In a stunning display of knowledge acquisition, Rio Rancho Public Schools, upon being hit with a demand letter reminding the school that pro-life students have rights too, suddenly remembered that the Constitution does indeed exist, and agreed to let Phoenixes for Life get started at Rio Rancho Middle School.
Dylan Fredette wanted to start a Students for Life group and began the process in November 2017. He approached Principal Lynda Kitts about starting a group, and wrote a proposal for the club, detailing what the club aimed to accomplish. Principal Kitts claimed Dylan could not start a pro-life group because it would not be fair to pro-choice students. Of course, there is absolutely nothing Dylan nor Students for Life did that would prevent pro-choice students from starting their own group. Several weeks later, at the end of November, Principal Kitts said she did not remember saying that.
In March 2018, Dylan again tried to start a pro-life club, providing a club constitution and the name of a faculty advisor, as required by the school, to Principal Kitts. Principal Kitts never responded to this e-mail. Since that time, Isaiah, Dylan’s brother, has started as a 7th grader at the school, and wishes to continue the group, as Dylan has now graduated.
But, when the demand letter hit the e-mail inboxes of the administration, they suddenly found that pesky Constitution and its First Amendment exactly where they had misplaced it. “Oh that’s where we put it” you can imagine the superintendent saying to the bewildered staff of principals, vice-principals, assistant principals, and directors of principals, all of whom, despite having advanced degrees, didn’t know what the First Amendment was until a lawyer reminded them.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, “In response to the letter, Rio Rancho Public Schools sent a statement to the Journal on Tuesday that said, as long as the proper processes are followed by the students moving forward, the district “would certainly allow a club of this nature.”
Christina Coffman, Rocky Mountains Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America said, “This is great news and we are proud of Phoenixes for Life for not giving up their fight–next time, we just hope that schools remember that pro-lifers have rights before we have to send them a demand letter reminding them of our rights.”
“We appreciate that the Rio Rancho School District finally decided to honor the First Amendment rights of its students. Sadly it took the threat of legal action for the school to recognize the rights they consistently previously denied the Fredette brothers and their peers. Principal Lynda Kitts was wrong to initially deny a pro-life group at Rio Rancho Middle School based on her opinion that such a club was ‘too controversial’ and her belief that other students might disagree with the pro-life point-of-view. She refused to approve the pro-life club even after she was asked to reconsider her denial. We are honored to partner with Students for Life of America for the work they do across the country and we will continue to stand beside them in this battle for First Amendment rights for pro-life students,” said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Joan Mannix.