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Fla. students hold first pro-life club meeting after school lifts ban on ‘controversial’ group

Fla. students hold first pro-life club meeting after school lifts ban on ‘controversial’ group

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins engages participants in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. | Students for Life

Students at a Florida high school will hold their first pro-life club meeting on Monday, six months after administrators initially banned the group, accusing it of being too “political” and “controversial.”

“We’re grateful that Gulf Coast High School acknowledged our client’s constitutionally protected rights, has chosen to recognize Sharks 4 Life as an official club, and affirms that students have the right to express their beliefs about the immense value of every human life,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross in a statement to The Christian Post on Wednesday

Ross said public schools cannot “play favorites when approving student organizations or refuse to recognize a student organization for being too ‘political’ or ‘controversial.’”

Last November, the ADF sent a letter of concern to the Collier County Public School Board and Gulf Coast Assistant Principal Catherine Crawford-Brown on behalf of student Gabrielle Gabbard.

According to the letter, Gulf Coast High School had rejected Gabbard’s request to form Sharks 4 Life, which was going to be a local affiliate of the national Students for Life organization.

The reason for the rejection was that Crawford-Brown believed the student club was too political and controversial to be approved.

Collier County Public Schools, however, denied the allegation that the district had banned Sharks 4 Life, telling Breitbart News last year that the claim was “simply wrong.”

“GCHS, like other district high schools, has a plethora of clubs on site that include faith-based clubs, non-faith based clubs, and so on that meet at lunch or after school with their respective faculty sponsors,” said the school district spokesperson at the time.

“The principal will be reaching out to students interested in forming the Sharks 4 Life Club … and finding a sponsoring faculty member.”

In response, Ross told Fox News that the school district only changed its position on the proposed student club after being contacted by ADF.

“ADF’s demand letter clearly recounts Gulf Coast High School’s repeated refusal to recognize Sharks 4 Life for over three months,” Ross told the news outlet last year.

“The facts leave no doubt that they were ill-treated and ignored because of their viewpoint. The only apparent attempt from GCHS to recognize Sharks 4 Life comes after a threat of legal action. Students shouldn’t have to threaten legal action to have their voice heard.”

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