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Mich. School Allows Rick Santorum to Speak After Temporary Cancellation Due to 'Extreme' Views

  • (Photo: The Christian Post/Napp Nazworth)
    Rick Santorum speaking at a "Patriot Voices" event during the Republican National Convention, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 29, 2012.
April 10, 2013|5:46 pm

After initially canceling his upcoming speech on leadership, a Michigan high school has reversed its decision and has announced that it will allow former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) to speak to students on campus on April 24.

"After pressure from students, parents, and local community leaders, the Grosse Pointe Public School System has decided to reverse their decision and allow Senator Rick Santorum to speak to the students of Grosse Pointe South High School," the Young America's Foundation, the umbrella group which oversees the Young Americans for Freedom group, a conservative, student-run group at Grosse Point South Public High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., said in a statement.

The high school's Young Americans for Freedom group was the first to organize Santorum's upcoming speech at the school.

"We are pleased that the school district has reversed their decision. Senator Santorum is a two-term United States Senator, someone who ran for President of the United States, and remains a driving force in the public policy realm. It would be a great disservice to the students to keep them from hearing him," Young America's Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle stated.

The Grosse Pointe Public School System announced Monday that it had decided to cancel Santorum's planned speaking engagement due to "new information" on Santorum as well as "a few other items."

"I wanted to thank the many staff members that shared additional information about the potential speaker. Based on this information and a few other items, I am announcing that we are declining the invitation to have Rick Santorum speak to our student body," Dr. Matt Outlaw, principal of Grosse Pointe South Public High School, said in an email to parents, as reported by The Blaze.

The email added that district Superintendent Tom Harwood agreed with the decision to cancel the former senator's speech.

Rebecca Fannon, the school district's spokeswoman, told Patch.com on Tuesday that Santorum's speech was canceled by the school district because the former senator neglected to provide a preview of his speech, and additionally because "school-day activities should remain neutral given the district is public and such a speaker is not neutral."

Although the school district claims that it chose to cancel Santorum's speech because he refused to provide a preview, Patrick Coyle, YAF's vice president, told Breitbart that he believes Santorum's speech was canceled due to his previous conservative comments regarding same-sex marriage.

Coyle told Breitbart that in a telephone conversation, superintendent Harwood reportedly said he would not allow Santorum to speak because of his stance on education and same-sex marriage.

Coyle claims that when it was announced that Santorum would be speaking at the high school, several teachers within the school district protested due to the former GOP presidential runner's conservative views.

Although Coyle attempted to assuage Harwood, saying that Santorum's speech would be centered around leadership, Harwood reportedly called Santorum's views "extreme."

"Superintendent Harwood is injecting his own personal views into the situation and subsequently keeping students from hearing an American public policy leader discuss the importance of being a leader in their school and community," Coyle told Breitbart.

Santorum also issued a statement regarding the cancellation, saying:

"It's a sad day when liberal educators are allowed to influence young minds – extending free speech rights only to those who share their liberal views."

"I support traditional marriage; I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I'm not sure what the administrators in the Grosse Pointe Public School System are afraid of, but these students deserve the respect to form their own opinion on this important issue," Santorum stated.

The former senator went on to assert that he was never asked by the school district to provide a preview text of his speech:

"I was never asked for a copy of a speech, nor did I send one. This has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions."

Santorum has long been known to hold conservative views regarding religion and social policies.

Just last week, the Republican politician told the Des Moines Register that he believes it would be "suicidal" for the GOP party to change its platform regarding same-sex marriage.

In spite of the temporary conflict with Grosse Pointe South Public High School, Santorum is now scheduled to speak at the campus on April 24.

The school district said in a separate statement today that it has reached a compromise with Santorum and YAF, and students and faculty will not be forced to attend the politician's upcoming speech.

"With this compromise, families will have the opportunity to discuss and determine prior to the event whether they wish their student to participate. Staff will be given that same opportunity. Those who choose not to participate will continue with their regularly scheduled school day," the district said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/mich-school-allows-rick-santorum-to-speak-after-temporary-cancellation-due-to-extreme-views-93689/