School Aborts Pro-Life Club; Student Sues

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Las Vegas parents claim in court that their daughter’s high school violated the Constitution by refusing to let her start an anti-abortion club.
     Claire Trebaol-Clark and Michael Clark say their daughter wants to create a “pro-life club in order to educate her fellow students on the issue of abortion and to offer hope and resources to help in the cases of crises pregnancies.”
     But “by virtue of the content of the club’s expression,” West Career & Technical Academy denied her application to form a WCTA Pro-Life Club. Her parents sued the high school, its principal and assistant principal, and Clark County School District on Thursday in Federal Court.
     The Clarks claim the denial is content-based discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment.
     Their daughter Angelique submitted a school-provided application to form the club in December 2014, but in February, principal Allen Yee told her “the club was a ‘no-go,'” according to the complaint.
     Angelique says school officials did not explain their denial in writing, so she wrote to them: “I am not asking the administration to agree with me on the topic of abortion. I am not asking anyone to do that. I am asking you to give the students of West Career and Technical Academy their right to the opportunity to learn and discuss such a defining topic, such as abortion, on our society as Americans.”
     Eight days after Angelique wrote the letter, she says, Yee met with her and told her why the club was unacceptable:
     “a. the name was not inclusive enough – it would make people on campus with the opposite view feel left out and look bad for the school in the media;
     “b. regardless of the name, simply having a club that picks a side on the topic of abortion was not inclusive enough;
     “c. permitting a pro-life club would cause negative media coverage of the school for ‘supporting’ the pro-life movement;
     “d. there are ‘far more qualified’ people who know more about abortion than a sophomore in high school;
     “e. the topic of abortion is controversial; and
     “f. public schools are ‘different’ when it comes to First Amendment rights.”
     The Clarks reject that reasoning. They say the school has a Bible Club, a Gay/Straight Alliance, an Anime Club, a Key Club and other clubs.
     They say the school did not respond to a May letter from their attorney.
     They seek nominal damages, declaratory judgment, an injunction, costs of suit – and the club.
     Their attorney Mark R. Smith was not immediately available for comment Thursday. Clark County School officials will not comment on active lawsuits.

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