Sunday, May 17, 2015

Abortion Backtrack by N. Dakota Schools: Lawyer

For months, the Fargo (North Dakota) School District No. 1 had denied allowing pro-life students Brigid O’Keefe and Katie McPherson to form local clubs associated with Students for Life of America, but after the Thomas More Society informed school administrators of their unconstitutional denials, they quietly, and without comment, approved the new clubs at Fargo North and Davies High Schools.
“High-schoolers do not lose their right to form clubs and speak their message just because they are pro-life.”
-- Jocelyn Floyd, Thomas More Society Associate Counsel
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Iowa School Censors Pro-life Girl's Rights, Lawyer Says

Connecticut School Censors 'Controversial' Pro-life Kids

Virginia School Slow-walks Pro-life Club Approval

New Jersey School Censors Student Expressing Pro-life View

Washington School OKs Gay Message, but Censors Pro-life Students

-- From "Fargo school district allows anti-abortion clubs to meet" by The Associated Press 5/13/15

[The Chicago-based Thomas More Society] sent a letter to the district in early April arguing that the refusal of school officials to recognize the groups was a violation of the students' First Amendment rights.

The school district has confirmed to KFGO-AM that it is letting the clubs gather but would not comment further.

The club at Davies High school already hosted its first meeting.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pro-Life clubs officially recognized at two Fargo high schools" posted at Valley News KVLY-TV11 & KXJB (Fargo, ND) 5/13/15

A spokesperson for the Fargo Public School district told Valley News Live they had nothing to say to the public about the decision.

At Fargo North, sophomore Brigid O’Keefe had submitted her application to start a Students for Life in February 2015. School administrators put Brigid and other prospective club members through extensive questioning, including questions about their religious affiliations, before denying the club.

At Davies High School, sophomore Katie McPherson had been trying to start a Students for Life club since September 2014. For months, the school administration would not even let her apply for her club to receive official status or assign a promised room for “unofficial” club meetings.

Both schools have now approved the pro-life clubs. Davies Teens for Life members already held their first meeting, and Brigid is planning the first Spartans for Life meeting for next week.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Students for Life America responds to school district over pro-life clubs" posted at Valley News KVLY-TV11 & KXJB (Fargo, ND) 4/17/15

On Thursday Fargo Public schools issued a statement to the original demand letter claiming the students never filed the appropriate paperwork, at least at Davies High, but indicated the district would consider the application if one was handed in. However in emails obtained by Valley News Live, Assistant Principal Lenny Ohlhauser never mentions an application process while writing to other district officials and instead indicates that approval might not be possible because of ties to a church. From the email "Do either of you have students involved with pro-life. I have some students asking about being able to provide a space for meeting. I told them club status will not probably be an option due to the ties of a church, but giving a space to meet is an option."

[Statement from] Kristan Hawkins, president, Students for Life of America
"The school district’s response is amateurish and inaccurate. They are purposely trying to make two high school sophomores look inept when in reality, it is the school district that is fumbling around for any excuse to continue to delay or outright deny the Students for Life clubs that Brigid O’Keefe and Katie McPherson have been trying to start, in one case for eight months now. In all the administration's emails that a Fargo news station released, as well as the verbal communications from the schools to the students, there is no mention of a lack of paperwork as the reason that the Students for Life clubs were being denied. As we approach the end of the school year, we suspect the school district is trying to push this 'issue' under the rug for a few more months in the hopes that Brigid and Katie will forget about wanting to educate their peers and serve women in need. Asking Brigid and Katie to start the entire process over again is a ridiculous response, especially when the clubs should have been approved immediately."
[Statement from] Jocelyn Floyd, Associate Counsel, Thomas More Society
"We're encouraged by the District's acknowledgment that it will abide by the requirements of the law going forward, but we're greatly disappointed by the way it's now chosen to misrepresent the history here in order to place the blame on the students. Never were they denied for paperwork reasons. Throughout the process, the schools and the district had consistently made their position clear—one of illegal censorship based on the message of the club."
To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Buffalo NY Univ. Prof. Arrested for Bullying Pro-life Students