Since she was little, Elizabeth Castro has cherished a pro-life view. This was partly due to the fact that her own mother was medically advised to have an abortion while carrying Elizabeth's younger brother. Since the knowledge of that experience, Elizabeth has been determined to share what she so aptly calls life: a "fundamental right," with peers and fellow students.
As a senior in high school, Elizabeth's youthful passion was to begin a pro-life group at her Pennsylvania high school. Imagine her disappointment when, despite the initial consent of teachers, she was denied her plans on the basis that her club was "too controversial" and "too political."
She and her friend and potential co-president, high school junior Grace Schairer, knew something was amiss when they contacted the assistant principal to find out what their next steps should be---and received no feedback.
"We met all the requirements of Parkland High School to start a club at the school and were denied simply because we are pro-life. The school is not only denying my right to start a group but denying the opportunity for others at my school to learn about the greatest human rights social injustice of our time.”
Yet Elizabeth and Schairer refuse to back down. And The Thomas More Society, a non-profit legal firm which regularly deals with issues regarding religious and social liberties, is intent on representing their case. They have called the district's action a violation of Amendment One and the Equal Access Act. One Thomas More representative explained the district's argument as an illegal, but commonplace, one:
"The school’s baseless claim that the club would be too ‘controversial’ and ‘political’ is a common excuse we hear. And it’s always infringing on the First Amendment rights of pro-life students, treating them as second-class citizens because they happen to want to educate their peers on the horrors of abortion and help pregnant and parenting students at their school.”
While the head of district has yet to review the Society's letter and duly respond, Elizabeth is considering the possibility of another refusal.
"I really hope they make the right decision, if they don't," Castro added, "we're gonna have to look into more possibilities and options. Legal action? More possibilities and options."
This brave girl of Parkland high school is adamant that she and other like-minded students help to conform the Pennsylvania high school by creating "...a life-affirming culture at our school, educate our peers on the issue of life, hold diaper drives to support pregnant and parenting students, and become a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.”