A high school in Pennsylvania is being sued by the Thomas More Society, a religious non-profit group, after it refused to allow students to organize a pro-life club saying it was too controversial.
The lawsuit filed against the district, Parkland High School and three school administrators accuses those named of violating the First Amendment and the federal Equal Access Act when in March they refused to approve the club’s charter unless changes were made.
According to the school, the club’s constitution would only be approved if their mission statement said they, “didn’t fundraise for religious entities, abandoned off-site pursuits, restricted their endeavors and communications to club members instead of school peers, and sought approval from the school for activities like “volunteering at pregnancy resource centers.”
So they can be a pro-life club if they don’t do anything to promote the pro-life cause.
It’s been 16 years since I was in high school but if I recall, student organized clubs were for students who had similar interests or students who were simply curious to learn more about something to get together and oft times to raise money or educate others through posters or events.
If that’s changed to the point where students aren’t allowed to do those things, I can’t see why the kids would go through the hassle of submitting charters to the school anymore.
The Daily Signal reports that other politically motivated clubs are active at the school, including the Gay Straight Alliance and the Political Science Club. Both of which, according to the attorney’s filing the case, were not required to have additional language in their charters limiting their activity.
“Parkland’s initial denial and later attempt to impose extra requirements on Liz and Grace’s club are a far cry from the law’s requirement that schools treat student clubs equally in every respect,” said Jocelyn Floyd, special counsel for Thomas More Society. “We hope that the court will quickly recognize the illegal and unconstitutional way the school has treated Liz and Grace and require Parkland High School to uphold their rights under both the First Amendment and Equal Access Act,” Floyd added.
The school’s representative said they were surprised by the lawsuit. As the Thomas More Society sent them a letter saying they would file if the pro-life student group continued to be given additional prohibitions on their charter.