Tuesday, November 17, 2009

School Censors Student Expressing Pro-life View

A New Jersey student who was prevented from participating in a national event along with hundreds of thousands of her peers now has legal representation from a pro-life law group.

-- From "NJ teen barred from abortion protest sues school" by Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press 11/17/09

A New Jersey high school student claims in a federal lawsuit that school administrators violated her First Amendment free-speech and religious-freedom rights when they said she couldn't participate in a day of silent protest against abortion.

The girl, identified in court papers as C.H., says she asked the Bridgeton High School principal last month for permission to join in the Pro Life Day of Silent Solidarity, a worldwide protest organized each year by Stand True, a ministry in Troy, Ohio. But the principal said no, telling her she couldn't do anything "religious," according to her lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Camden by a lawyer hired by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based legal group that takes on religious freedom cases on behalf of Christians. The organization sent an advisory before the day of protest that it would defend students who are barred from participating.

ADF senior counsel David Cortman says his group has intervened in dozens of cases across the country over the six years the protest has been held and has filed suits in about a dozen. He said some have been successful and others are still pending.

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From "New Jersey Student Stopped From Joining National Pro-Life Event Against Abortion" by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor 11/16/09

The student . . . wanted to wear a red armband with the word “LIFE” written on it, but school officials told the student that nothing “religious” is allowed in public schools.

“Pro-life students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.

“The Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity is a non-disruptive, student-led event occurring outside of instructional time," he told LifeNews.com. "The event provides the opportunity for students to exercise their constitutional right to express their viewpoint on abortion, just as other students have the right to express their views.”

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