Activism

Indiana high school pro-life club wins effort to hang pro-adoption banner

pro-life club

Carmel Teens for Life, a pro-life student group at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, won in its efforts to hang a pro-adoption sign at the school. Liberty Counsel, which represented the students’ right to free speech, reported this week:

Last fall, student members of Carmel Teens for Life… spent over 25 hours painting a poster display which included 300 individual tiny hearts, each representing 10 lives, to symbolize the written statement “3,000 Lives Are Ended Each Day.” When one student complained to an administrator that it was “offensive,” school officials threw the poster away without consulting with the pro-life club’s leadership. School officials later claimed the multi-part poster impermissibly expressed an “ideology” and was “not approved for display.” The poster was, in fact, approved for display, as evidenced by approval stamps on each of its component pages, and it complied with school signage guidelines to the letter.

In defense of its actions, school leadership claimed club signs are not allowed to “interfere[] with what folks are thinking or feeling comfortable with” — though Liberty Counsel notes that “signs from other organizations promoting ideologies such as pro-LGBT and pro-Young Democrats [we]re allowed.”

Before Liberty Counsel got involved, school officials instructed the student club not to use the word “abortion” in any communications, and tried to force students to sign away their rights to seek outside legal representation. Even more shockingly, “students were not allowed to take the agreement home or to discuss it with their parents” and were told “if they did not sign the agreement immediately the club sponsors would be forced to resign, jeopardizing the club’s existence.”

The Indy Star notes that since this particular incident, “the district has rewritten the rules to make it clear that club signs cannot contain messages, cannot be larger than 8½ inches by 11 inches and cannot be combined to make a larger image. Also, signs that do not meet standards will be returned to the clubs” instead of being thrown out, as the first Carmel Teens for Life club poster was.

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