Public School Approves Students for Life Group After Initially Trying to Deny it
‘High schools are being put on notice; respect free-speech or face legal action’, noted Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.
FREDERICKSBURG, VA and NAPLES, FL (1-15-2020)—
In response to news that Gulf Coast High School had finally approved Sharks 4 Life, after intervention by Students for Life of America and Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristan Hawkins stated, “Courageous student leaders across the country face real opposition from their schools, because they choose speak for the defenseless and want to peacefully educate their fellow students about abortion,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins. “Federal law and the Constitution are both clear that public schools can’t discriminate against pro-life groups. Thankfully, Gulf Coast High School has finally agreed to do the right thing and respect the rights of its students.”
“The First Amendment protects all students’ freedom of speech and expression—even in a public school,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross. “Public school officials also can’t play favorites when approving student organizations or refuse to recognize a student organization for being too ‘political’ or ‘controversial,’ especially when they have rightfully approved a whole host of other clubs formed around religious, political, and social interests. We’re grateful that Gulf Coast High School acknowledged our client’s constitutionally protected rights, has chosen to recognize Sharks 4 Life as an official club, and affirms that students’ have the right to express their beliefs about the immense value of every human life.”
In August, Students for Life leader Gabrielle Gabbard sought to start a Students for Life group at her school, but faced trouble from the administration. You can read more about that here.
ADF sent a letter to Gulf Coast High School in November, demanding approval of the group and asking the school to stop intimidating staff and faculty for volunteering to be advisors. You can read the full letter here.
You can read Kristan Hawkins’ op-ed on common violations of student free-speech here.
For interviews and analysis, contact Kristi Hamrick at [email protected].
Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life student organization with over 1,225 groups on high school and college campuses across the country.
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to ensuring freedom of speech and association for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.