Angelique Clark, a high school junior in Las Vegas, Nevada, is suing the West Career and Technical Academy and the Clark County School District. Arguing on her behalf is the Thomas More Society, a law firm based in Illinois. The lawsuit claims that Clark’s constitutional free speech rights were violated by the school district when she was denied the right to start a pro-life student group.
"When I first applied to form a pro-life club, I never imagined I would have to sue my school to be able to exercise my free speech rights," said Clark, according to an August 13 release. "My fellow pro-life students and I simply want to make our voices heard and to educate other students on a topic that's important to us - choosing life. We hope for a quick resolution that allows us to get the West Career and Technical Academy Pro-Life Club up and running as soon as possible." See injunction here
Attorney Jocelyn Floyd explained, "High school administrators should not censor students, but rather they should encourage them to exercise their free speech rights."
Floyd said further, "We hope that the court will quickly recognize the illegal and unconstitutional denial of Angelique's Students for Life club; and require West Career and Technical Academy to respect the rights of all its students under both the First Amendment and Equal Access Act."
A high school junior, Clark first submitted her application to start a pro-life club in December 2014. After three months without a response, she was told in February 2015 by high school Assistant Principal Allen Yee that the application had been denied.
According to the statement, Clark was told by Yee that her application was denied because:
* abortion was "controversial";
* a pro-life club would make pro-choice people feel left out;
* there were others "more qualified" to speak on the issue than a high school student.
Clark also sought assistant from Students for Life of America. At the request of that organization, attorneys for Thomas More Society attorneys sent a demand letter to the high school and the Clark County School District in May 2015. Three months later, neither Clark, Students for Life, nor the Thomas More Society have received any response to the demand letter and the school and district have taken no action to approve the club.
"We are proud of Angelique for not allowing her school administrators to trample her free speech rights," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. "She is determined to be a voice for the preborn and their mothers, even though she's been faced with so much resistance."
The Thomas More Society and Las Vegas area co-counsel Mark Smith filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. They have asked for a preliminary injunction, in which the court would require the school to immediately approve the student pro-life club, while the lawsuit goes forward.
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