SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI, June 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Missouri high school settled out of court with pro-life students, who sued after officials threw out religious and pro-life materials a student had placed on campus and banned their display.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a civil rights action in February against the Dixon R-1 School District after Dixon High School officials removed posters promoting the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity last October. The same school allowed promotion of the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network’s “Day of Silence” and other political messages.
The Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity is a popular international event sponsored by several pro-life groups, including Stand True Ministries and Students for Life of America, in which pro-life students tape their mouths shut in witness those silenced by abortion. It registered 2,252 participating schools last year in 56 countries. Its website displays scores of stories each year from participants describing lively in-school debate prompted by the event.
The complaint states that “J.A.,” a female high school senior, had been granted permission to hang posters advertising the pro-life solidarity event, but soon discovered a teacher taking one of them down. The teen reposted the advertisement, but within a few hours, all the posters had vanished. She later learned from the superintendent that school officials had thrown them out.
ADF dismissed the suit last week after the school district revised its policies and agreed to allow students to post religious and pro-life material with other materials at designated locations.
“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Students should not be marginalized just because their pro-life views may not line up with school politics.”