Pro-Life Club Wins Free Speech with New Poster Display

Feb 23, 2017

After school administrators at Carmel High School censored and discarded a previously approved adoption poster display created by Carmel Teens for Life, the pro-life student club members hang their newly-created sign today on the cafeteria wall. The new poster will hang for 10 consecutive school days.

Last fall, student members of Carmel Teens for Life, represented by Liberty Counsel, spent over 25 hours painting a poster display which included 300 individual tiny hearts, each representing 10 lives, to symbolize the written statement “3,000 Lives Are Ended Each Day.” When one student complained to an administrator that it was “offensive,” school officials threw the poster away without consulting with the pro-life club’s leadership. School officials later claimed the multi-part poster impermissibly expressed an “ideology” and was “not approved for display.” The poster was, in fact, approved for display, as evidenced by approval stamps on each of its component pages, and it complied with school signage guidelines to the letter.

However, when challenged for taking down the poster, the principal and assistant principal said that club signs are not permitted to “interfere with what folks are thinking or feeling comfortable with” despite the fact that signs from other organizations promoting ideologies such as pro-LGBT and pro-Young Democrats are allowed. Trying to save face, the Carmel Clay School Board of Education, through its general counsel, stated in a contradictory recent press release, "Our decision to allow the sign to return is not the school's endorsement of the message any more than our decision to remove the sign was the school's rejection of that message.”

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