Being pro-life is not always accepted or allowed by pro-abortion school administrations—but Students for Life of America does not allow pro-life students to be silenced. That’s why a lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of a student facing alleged discrimination. There are a lot of questions surrounding this case so here’s what you need to know about this lawsuit.
Key Points (pulled from the legal complaint filed):
- An Indiana public high school student has attempted to start a Students for Life group at her school.
- School administration initially seemed poised to approve this, but changed course.
- School administration rejected a flyer advertising the new group because the photo used was “controversial.”
- School administration revoked approval for the Students for Life group because the student’s mother attended a meeting.
- The Dean of the school verbally and physically intimidated the pro-life student, allegedly very intentionally.
- Staff of the school participated in defamatory language about the proceedings in a public forum (Facebook).
- The principal of the school personally submitted a column to the local paper lying, the case alleges, about the facts and asserting that the student “disregarded school policy” and defames the student as a “troublemaker.”
- The principal emailed this column to every member of the school community from his school email address.
For more from the source, see the legal materials from Charitable Allies, the firm representing the student.
In July 2021, an Indiana high schooler (a minor who is going by E.D.) approached SFLA’s Regional Coordinator for Indiana, Mary Carmen Zakrajsek about starting her own SFLA group at her high school, Noblesville High School. After meeting, E.D.’s new group got on the club rotation schedule that was managed by the school and she even tabled at the schools’ activities fair with Mary Carmen.
Things seemed just fine—until they didn’t. E.D.’s group was put on a rotation that conflicted with her advisor’s schedule, and when she submitted a group flyer for approval, it was rejected because it had a photo on it. E.D. pointed out that many other student clubs post flyers containing pictures, but administration said that there was an issue with the particular photo on the flyer, which was one of SFLA signs being held by students in Washington, D.C.
After multiple emails requesting a scheduling change were left unanswered—and given the time-sensitive nature of her call-out date quickly approaching — E.D. arranged a meeting with the dean. Since no other students/faculty members were available to accompany her to the meeting, she asked her mother to join so she would not be alone with the dean who is “known to students as being aggressive,” according to the legal complaint.
At the meeting, E.D. explained the situation to the dean while her mother merely listened. E.D. also asked why her flyers were denied. The administrator mentioned that it may have had to do with the images of the signs the students were holding in the flyer and that the school was already “dancing on eggshells.” When E.D. asked for a list of rules of what flyers could/could not contain, there was nothing the dean could point to.
A couple days after the meeting, E.D.’s mother received an email saying that the principal had retracted his approval of their group because he thought the group didn’t seem like it was student-led. According to him, this was due to E.D’s mother attending the meeting, and that signaled that this group was not being led by a student. Now, the school has told E.D. that her group can reapply next semester—effectively shutting them down.
When news of this story happened, several Noblesville school leaders and teachers were quick to judge E.D. publicly on social media by posting defamatory statements which including referring to her as “misogynistic” and “bigoted.”
What is being done about this?
SFLA has been working with E.D. throughout this entire process and now through the legal process. On her behalf, the legal organization Charitable Allies has filed a lawsuit against the Noblesville School District, Noblesville High School, and several named school leaders and teachers on the basis of a violation of freedom of speech. To read the complaint, click here. Charitable Allies has also made a motion for preliminary injunction.
Is there anything the Pro-Life Generation can do to help?
Yes—keep this case in your prayers. Additionally, share E.D.’s story on social media and throughout your communities. For those silently going through a situation similar to this, we hope that this case will be uplifting and path-lighting: sometimes, legal action is what it takes to right a wrong—and it is very wrong to suffocate someone’s freedom of speech.
Students for Life of America stands to support E.D. and all others who are wrongly silenced in their pro-life beliefs. Contact us if your school is acting out in the same way—you deserve the same support E.D. does. Just email your Regional Coordinator by using your state name + @studentsforlife.org (for example, Indiana students would email [email protected]).
To read our press release on this lawsuit, click here.
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