Conn. High School Backs Off Censorship of Pro-Life Student Group

Students for Life of Branford, Oct. 13, 2013. | (Photo: Students for Life of Branford)

After receiving media attention and a letter from a Christian legal group, Branford High School administrators have backed off from censoring Students for Life of Branford. The student-led club will now have the same privileges as the other clubs at the school.

"On behalf of Branford High School Students for Life and on behalf of all abortion abolitionists across the nation, I am honored to say that another victory for the pre-born has been won," Sam Bailey-Loomis, founder and president of Branford Students for Life, said in a Students for Life of America press release.

As The Christian Post reported on March 11, school administrators would not let the pro-life student club show a model of a fetus at their display table, and would not let them set up the display table, hand out information and recruit members, or "clipboard," at lunch, even though other student clubs were allowed to do so.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, sent a letter to the school asking it to uphold the pro-life student's free speech rights.

"Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas," said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom, who represented the group. "The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs. We commend Branford Public Schools for reversing the restrictions that prevented the students from distributing pro-life literature and clipboarding to their friends and classmates during free time."

Bailey-Loomis added that she hopes her club's victory will encourage other pro-life student groups who are not treated fairly.

"While difficult, the stand we have taken will ultimately have a positive impact on our community and on the lives of so many. I want to encourage pro-life activists of all ages to take a stand for life, even if it seems impossible. Nothing is impossible when you stand for truth and justice," she said.

Students for Life of America helped bring attention to the incident. In a CP op-ed, Kristan Hawkins, president of SLA, noted that her group has dealt with similar incidents around the country.

Abortion is not an issue that high schools should shy away from, she added, because high school girls are in the age group that most often struggles with whether to have an abortion.

"Simply speaking out and educating students on a controversial issue is not enough ground for censorship. In fact, it is issues like abortion that need to be discussed the most on high school campuses. It's always there in the background as the majority of abortions are committed on women younger than 25," she said.

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