Missouri School District Silences Pro-Life Students
The Alliance Defense Fund has filed a suit against the Missouri Dixon R-1 School District on behalf of a student who says she was unfairly censored for promoting the annual Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.
While Dixon High School has typically been known to foster student involvement by allowing the promotion of events and causes, last October they decided to deny the female student’s request to post flyers encouraging her fellow students to give up their voices for the unborn.
Such promotions have been previously allowed, and follow district policy that states: “student expression regarding a variety of topics may be beneficial to the District’s educational mission,” including “discussion and debate regarding serious issues.” In recent years, this policy has been used to justify posters with political and anti-drug messages, posters and announcements promoting the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence, even photos of students edited to look like bloody zombies.
ADF Litigation Counsel, Matt Sharp calls this censorship a “double standard”:
“Public school officials cannot pick and choose what messages they are going to allow based on which viewpoints they prefer. ADF has litigated numerous cases similar to this one, and the law and the Constitution are clearly on the side of our client here as well.”
ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco echoed Sharp’s logic, arguing that:
“All students should have the freedom to express their beliefs. Pro-life students have a positive and valuable message that school officials should welcome, not censor. Public schools are more likely to succeed when they allow for the free exchange of ideas.”
On this basis, the ADF officially filed suit against the school district on behalf of the student on February 14th.
According to ADF’s website, Douglas Fredrick, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the case.