Pro Tip: How To Respond To Vandalism
To be honest, you are probably tired of hearing about campus vandalism. We’re tired, too. The fact that it’s becoming commonplace for pro-abortion students (and staff) to deface and steal the property of pro-life students is horrible and shameful. Pro-life students have all the same free speech rights as everyone else and obviously do not deserve to be treated this way.
BUT we must play with the hand we’ve been dealt! In the event that your pro-life display/posters/chalk are vandalized at some point this year, we want to encourage you not to be discouraged. Your bravery in dealing with the situation is a catalyst for the inspiration of other groups who may be facing the same thing. We’re all together in this fight, you and over 1,000 other pro-life groups nationwide, and we are not just going to roll over and be silenced by those who disagree with our message.
A prime example that happened just last week is a case of flyer vandalization in Fairfax, Virginia. The pro-life student group at Woodson Public High School hung up flyers advertising for their group (yep, that’s all). The flyers listed information about the group’s meetings (date/time/location) as well as events that the group plans to do. They even had post-abortive information at the bottom to help those who may be hurting. The flyers hadn’t been posted long before pro-abortion vandalism started appearing in the form of theft and writing of pro-abortion messages on the flyers.
The group’s leader, Heidi, shared with us, “Students and peers are always going to challenge and restrict us… our job is to respond with nothing but truth and love. Others’ ignorance towards our culture’s toughest issue won’t stop us from protecting the innocent and doing what’s right.”
It may seem intimidating to double down on your efforts when peers display hostility, but that is exactly what this group did. They responded by putting up twice as many of their flyers and confronting their principal about the vandalism. Though hesitant at first, their principal eventually gave in and agreed to check out the surveillance tapes to try to find out who committed the crime.
Campus vandalism comes in many forms (just search the word “vandalism” in our search bar below and you’ll see just what we mean). But how you want to respond to it is pretty much the same in any situation.
- Make sure you and your group members are not in danger. Most vandalism occurs out of sight, but if someone approaches and starts destroying your things right in front of you, it’s always a good idea to call the police in case the person poses a threat to you physically.
- Document, document, document. Take pictures and video of the display/posters/chalk when the group finishes setting it up and do the same after the vandalization occurs.
- If the vandalization occurs in front of you, and the person does not seem to be a threat to your personal safety, interview them on video about what they’re doing. Below is a good example!
- Contact SFLA and the appropriate school authorities. We hope that the school will do everything in their power to make it right, but we want to be there to help you just in case they don’t.
You have the right to share your message of life on campus, even if it feels like the campus is hostile towards it. Public schools are legally not allowed to discriminate against a certain viewpoint (check out our Free Speech Handout here). Be strong, be persistent, and be bold. Oftentimes, the most hostile campuses are the ones who need to hear your message the most.