A conservative legal group has filed a lawsuit against a California high school after it denied recognition to a student pro-life club.
On Monday, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a complaint on behalf of a student who maintains that officials at Westmont High School are blocking her efforts to establish and promote a pro-life club. The suit alleges that the high school and the Campbell Union High School District are discriminating against the student by refusing to grant the club the same access to privileges the other student groups on campus receive. Lawyers representing the student by the initials of P.A. want the school to overturn its policy.
"Public schools should recognize the constitutional rights of pro-life students just as they do for all other students," said ADF lawyer David Cortman.
"The high school is clearly engaging in viewpoint discrimination when it denies this pro-life group the right to the same privileges extended to other student groups. Schools cannot deny student clubs these privileges just because not everyone agrees with the message."
While the pro-life club is allowed to meet on campus, it was denied the official recognition status given to other clubs on campus, the suit contends.
The lawsuit also states that the club was barred access to promotional avenues through public address announcements, the school website and bulletin boards, among other means.
The student submitted a request to the school in October to start the "Live Action - Pro Life Club." Students of the pro-life club would meet to discuss community service, sexual abstinence, human rights issues, and keeping and raising children in the event of pregnancy, according to the suit.
But the plaintiff claims that officials rejected the name because the message it contained was "too controversial." The club currently goes by the name "Live Action."
Meanwhile, the school has recognized clubs involving chess, gay rights, break dancing and sci/fi horror movies. A Christian Club is also listed as one of the student groups operating at the school.
"It's our hope that the court will grant our motion for immediate relief so that these students can tell others about their club," said Cortman.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that this type of discrimination is unconstitutional and this lawsuit is intended to bring the school district in compliance with the law."