An Iowa high school principal has no problem with student groups — unless it’s a pro-life club — and one student is standing up for her constitutional rights.
Isabel Akers, a senior at Hampton-Dumont High School, tried to start a Students for Life club two years ago, LifeNews reported Thursday. Administrators balked, but allowed her club to meet on school grounds during 2014 as long as they didn’t advertise or host events.
Now that Akers is about to graduate, she wants the club to remain as a legacy for future students by gaining formal school club status.
Principal Steve Madson denied that request, saying that the Students for Life club is too “controversial.” Yet the school allows other clubs such as the book club, a club that stages mock trials, and Students Against Drunk Driving.
That was enough for Akers, who turned to the Thomas More Society, “a national not-for-profit law firm that exists to restore respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty,” according to a news release.
“I wanted to spend my high school career educating my fellow students on the beauty of human life and providing resources to girls at my school, but instead I have been fighting for my First Amendment rights,” Akers said.
The Thomas More Society wrote to Madson, charging the school with discrimination and trampling Akers constitutional rights.
The four-page letter stated:
“The school may not pick and choose among clubs based on its particular preferences for what the overall content of the group’s proposed speech should be. Your denial of Isabell’s request to form and operate a pro-life group on equal footing with these other non-curricular clubs constitutes a clear violation” of the Federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment.
The letter requests asks the school to approve Akers’ request for a Students for Life by April 30.
Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told LifeNews, “High school administrators have no right to discriminate against pro-life students.”
“On the contrary, high school students have the right to form Students for Life clubs to educate and inform their peers on the tragedy of abortion and to help those facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies.
“We are thankful for brave students like Isabell, who reached out to Students for Life of America and for our attorneys at the Thomas More Society for their help to make Isabell’s Students for Life group an official, school-based club, with the same rights as her peers.”
You go, girl.
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