A Florida high school is violating federal law and the Constitution preventing the formation of a pro-life club even though the same school allows dozens of other student clubs, including LGBTQ special-interest ones, a religious liberty group alleges.
Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Fla., refused this year to officially recognize a pro-life club affiliated with Students for Life of America, even though the pro-life student in question, Gabrielle Gabbard, followed every requirement, according to a letter Alliance Defending Freedom submitted to Collier County Public Schools Thursday.
The club was to be called “Sharks 4 Life,” but the assistant principal declined to “approve the club because it was too ‘political’ and ‘controversial,’” the letter says. Further, the assistant principal said, “she did not want either pro-choice or pro-life groups at Gulf Coast,” according to the letter.
“[The] failure to recognize Sharks 4 Life is blatantly illegal under the Equal Access Act and First Amendment, both of which guarantee” Gabbard the right to “have a student club that stands on equal footing with the hundreds of other student clubs in Collier County public schools,” the letter says.
The Equal Access Act prevents schools from receiving federal funding if they deny students the right to conduct meetings because of the “religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.” The letter cites a Supreme Court decision, Board of Education v. Mergens (1990), which said a school that allows one “noncurriculum related student group” may not “deny other clubs” on the basis of their…