Thursday, February 20, 2014
Tacoma's Wilson High Censors Pro-Life Students
Bryce Asberg is the founder of Wilson Students For Life at Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington.
Since he started the group last year, he has experienced considerable push back from the school administration.
The push back has boiled over.
Violating their own policies, the school censored the display the pro-life students requested. It has now become a national story.
This week the administration at Wilson High School has given us a "Profile in Hypocrisy."
And the pro-life students have responded.
Life News is reporting that in compliance with school policies, the pro-life student group asked the school for permission to hang some posters.
The school refused the request.
They said the school policy only allows posters "that do not offend staff or students, put others down if they have a different opinion, or otherwise cause disruption."
The criteria then is: 1. must not offend anyone, 2. put others down if they hold different beliefs, or 3. cause disruption.
The school administration says the pro-life posters would violate those policies. And they would "promote a message rather than solely promoting the group's meetings."
There are 2 posters the kids wanted to display. One reads "Since Roe v. Wade 1/3 of our generation has been aborted" with a picture of a milk carton and the word "missing" above the picture of a baby.
The other poster quotes President Ronald Reagan: "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion is already born."
This is a "Profile in Hypocrisy." And it is blatantly discriminatory. And the school is censoring the pro-life kids.
This same school administration, using the same policies, has permitted the Wilson Gay Straight Alliance to hang fliers promoting homosexual relationships by featuring conjoined male symbols and conjoined female symbols and stating "Love Knows No Limits."
Does the school administration really believe this does not offend those who believe in biblical teaching on homosexual behavior?
It has also become apparent that people who do not embrace the homosexual agenda are "put down," especially in American public school classrooms. Now, in a growing way, those who do not embrace the homosexual agenda are, in some cases, in violation of the law.
Each year Wilson High School allows the Gay Straight Alliance to sponsor a "Day of Silence." Do they really believe a day where students and teachers remain silent to show their support for homosexuality is not disruptive to the process of taxpayer funded, government controlled "education"?
And do they really believe this exercise is not offensive to biblical Christians who also attend public school?
After the administration denied the Wilson Students for Life, they met with Asberg and some of the other leaders in the pro-life club to give them some "advice" as to how to best run their club.
Asberg says he left the meeting feeling like his group was encouraged to only host events after school, while other groups were allowed to do what they wanted during the school day.
How can students who hold pro-life and/or traditional biblical beliefs about marriage respond to this kind of discrimination?
Bryce Asberg has taken a step in response.
He has personally delivered a letter to the principal from the Thomas More Society demanding that they end their censorship of his group.
The school administration has until February 25---next Tuesday, to respond to the demand from the lawyers at Thomas Moore.
Peter Breen, Vice President and Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society, told Life News, "Public schools have a duty to treat all student groups equally. Wilson High School’s current policy allows administrators to censor any messages they deem ‘offensive’—in this case, any pro-life message—while allowing other groups broad freedom of speech. The administration is violating the rights of the students involved in Wilson Students for Life, who do not lose their constitutionally protected freedom of speech when they enter the schoolhouse door.”
“The Wilson High School administration cannot be allowed to trample on the constitutional rights of Wilson Students for Life,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America. “Our pro-life students will not accept their right to free speech being taken away. Sadly, this case shows that viewpoint discrimination is alive and well in today’s schools and that administrators think they can still get away with it. Students for Life of America is proud to stand with Wilson Students for Life to demand that the Wilson High School administration reverse their unjust decision and give equal treatment to all students and student groups, regardless of their views on abortion.”
Kristan Hawkins with Life News writes, "The federal Equal Access Act requires that schools give each student group the same opportunities, without discriminating against any group. In 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that a Washington school which gave one group access to its bulletin boards must give that access to all student groups. Moreover, a number of Supreme Court decisions, such as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Sch. Dist., have held that students’ speech cannot be silenced simply because the administration has vague fears of disruption."
Students for Life of America is asking pro-life activists to call (253) 571-6076) and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Wilson High School Vice Principal Shane Sliva and ask him to apologize to Wilson Students for Life and end the school’s censorship of the group.
I'm asking all our readers to join Students for Life and contact the Wilson High School Vice Principal with this message. Be respectful, but firm. Your call or email will make a difference.
Be Informed. Be Pro-Active. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.