A high school student in Nebraska is challenging her school’s decision not to sponsor the pro-life club she started, saying the school’s move was an “unconstitutional discrimination.”
Bridget Christensen, a junior student at Gretna High School, formed a Students for Life club called Dragons for Life last year. She said the club she formed could play an important role in educating students about the issues of abortion.
However, school officials refused to sponsor it and said the club was not allowed to meet during school hours. The rejection was apparently given because the club was too “religious” and “controversial.”
“We’re a public school,” Superintendent Kevin Riley explained. “It’s not just anybody’s socioeconomic, religious, political or ideological playground.”
Christensen said other non-curriculum clubs have been sponsored by the school, indicating that school authorities appeared to have a “double standard” in choosing which clubs to sponsor or deny.
"There are other clubs out there that are just as legit as ours, specificially chess club or gay, straight alliance that could be pushing those boundaries and things like that and they have all the rights that we're seeking but we're still not being granted those rights so that double standard kind of plays in," she told CBN News.
Christensen expressed disappointment that instead of spending time educating other students about abortion, she is now forced to give her time fighting the school administrators for her First Amendment Rights.
Students for Life of America (SFLA) is a national youth pro-life organization that focuses on training high school, college, law school and medical students on issues regarding abortion.
The organization’s president, Kristan Hawkins, commented that Christensen’s rights were “breached” when her school did not approve her request.
“Just because the school may not agree with the pro-life position, doesn't give them the right to not allow the club to exist,” Hawkins said.
The organization sent a demand letter to the school through the nonprofit law firm The Thomas Moore Society saying their decision on the issue was a form of unconstitutional discrimination.
“There is no legally acceptable reason to classify Bridget’s club differently from any of the multitude of other non-curricular, fully recognized and “Sponsored” clubs at Gretna High School,” the letter read. “Therefore, we request that you reverse your decision and promptly approve Bridget Christensen’s request to establish, publicize and actively run a pro-life student group at Gretna High School as a Sponsored club on equal footing with all other non-curriculum related clubs.”
The school was given two weeks to reverse its decision. If it should persist on its current direction, Students for Life America and The Thomas Moore Society will file a lawsuit against it.
“Pro-life students have the same right to form a club as any other student in high school and cannot be discriminated against for their pro-life views,” Hawkins said.