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FL High School May Let Student Start Pro-Life Club After Being Accused of 'Blatant Violation'

11-14-2019

A Florida high school student says she was denied the right to start a pro-life club at her school because it's 'too controversial.'

Gabrielle Gabbard, a senior at Gulf Coast High School, alleges school officials rejected her idea of starting "Sharks 4 Life," an independent affiliate of the national pro-life group Students for Life of America.

According to Fox News, Gabbard says after applying for the club, the school's assistant principal, Catherine Crawford-Brown told her the group was "too political and too controversial."

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Gabbard in the case.

In a letter to the school board, ADF legal counsel Michael Ross said, "I am writing to inform you that the Collier County's failure to recognize Sharks 4 Life as an official Gulf Coast High School student club is a blatant violation of her rights under the US Constitution and the Equal Rights Act." (LINK LETTER)

ADF's letter continued, "Ms. Crawford-Brown expressed concern that approving the club would be seen as endorsing their political views. She stated that she did not want either pro-choice or pro-life groups at Gulf Coast."

Crawford-Brown also allegedly threatened teachers who wanted to serve as faculty advisors for the club with loss of their jobs.

"You must also promise Lisa Townsend and Linda Cassidy that you will not take action against them for assisting Sharks 4 Life," reads the ADF letter.

Meanwhile, Chad Oliver, a spokesman for the Collier County Public Schools, told Fox News the allegations are "simply wrong."

"The school has been ready to open the club but needs to have a faculty advisor/sponsor before it can open," Oliver said in a statement.

The statement continued, "The assistant principal never met with two faculty advisors about the opening of the club. She met with a member of the non-instructional staff who supported the club and two students. At no time did the assistant principal threaten anyone with job loss. The faculty member who originally agreed to serve as a faculty advisor to the club informed the Principal on September 4 that she had decided not to do so. The assistant principal has never spoken with this faculty member about this matter."

Ross argues the school is only now cooperating after Gabbard threatened to file a lawsuit.

"ADF's demand letter clearly recounts Gulf Coast High School's repeated refusal to recognize Sharks 4 Life for over three months," Ross told Fox. "The facts leave no doubt that they were ill-treated and ignored because of their viewpoint. The only apparent attempt from GCHS to recognize Sharks 4 Life comes after a threat of legal action. Students shouldn't have to threaten legal action to have their voice heard."

 

 

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