Middle School Reportedly Ignored Requests To Let Pro-Life Club Form. Student Gets Attorneys To Fix That
A New Mexico middle school has allegedly barred a pro-life student from forming a club for more than a year, propelling the student and his attorneys to send a Tuesday letter to the school calling out the injustice.
The Tuesday letter alleges that Rio Rancho Middle School has violated the First Amendment by refusing to give permission to a pro-life student seeking to form a club to educate other students about abortion and its alternatives.
The Thomas More Society, a group representing Students For Life (SFL), sent the letter on behalf of student Dylan Fredette who graduated from the school in 2018. The letter details repeated occurrences where the school principal refused to let Fredette form a club or ignored his requests to do so. Fredette met with school principal Lynda Kitts in November 2017 to discuss forming Phoenixes For Life.
The club would promote alternatives to abortion and host diaper drives among other activities, according to the letter. Following their conversation about the club, Kitts denied having met with Dylan, the letter alleges. (RELATED: LGBT Group At Christian School Bans Pro-Life Group From Sexual Health Fair)
Fredette sent a follow-up email to Kitts March 16, 2018 with a club constitution and notice of a faculty member who would serve as the club’s advisor. Fredette noted that if he did not hear from Kitts by March 23, he would assume the lack of response as denial. Kitts did not respond to his second request to form a club.
“A school may not permit some students to organize and express themselves on particular topics, while forbidding other students the same rights,” the letter reads. “This creates an atmosphere where only ‘approved’ speech is permitted and violates the First Amendment as a content-based or viewpoint restriction.”
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, Pay It Forward Club, and Chess Club all operate on the school campus.
“It is shameful that Rio Rancho Middle School, a taxpayer-funded school, has been discriminating against pro-life students for almost a full year now,” said Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins in a Tuesday statement. “The school has appallingly and disgustingly continued to throw up illegal obstacles in the way of students who want to start a group to reach out to their peers and educate them about the injustice of abortion.”
“Student initiated religious, political, and philosophical groups have the right to meet on the same basis and are subject to the same controls as any other student-initiated non-curriculum group,” chief communications officer Beth Pendergrass told The Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday. “So, as long as the student followed the appropriate process and abided by RRPS policies and procedures, we would certainly allow a club of this nature.”
Pendergrass did not indicate what steps, if anything, Fredette had failed to abide by.
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