Students at a suburban Indiana high school who were told they couldn't hang a pro-abortion rights sign in the cafeteria are turning to the courts, arguing that another student group was allowed to put up an anti-abortion sign last year.
Administrators at Carmel High School say student groups may post signs only if they advertise group meetings. Lawyers for the school district pointed out that the sign from Voices United did not include the group's name or meeting details. The sign reads: "I am pro choice. I am also ... pro adoption, pro birth control, pro abstinence and pro women's rights."
The student group, which is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, claims the school is discriminating against viewpoints and note that administrators allowed an anti-abortion sign to be up for 10 days last year, The Indianapolis Star reports. The group on Tuesday asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow it to hang the sign.
But a lawyer for Carmel schools, Alexander Pinegar, said the Carmel Teens for Life sign included a club name and meeting time. The school also said Voices United's sign does not conform to new, more explicit sign policy implemented this year.
The school allowed Carmel Teens for Life to put up a sign only after the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel threatened legal action, arguing that the school had allowed other ideological messages on signs, including a donkey on a sign for a student club for Democrats and the use of a rainbow and the word pride on signs for a group supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. The anti-abortion sign said "3,000 Lives Are Ended Each Day" and featured the word "abortion" changed to say "adoption."
In legal documents, Voices United argued that it "has been denied the opportunity to engage on equal footing in the debate over abortion practices that Teens for Life has started, with the permission of the School by posting its banner."