CARMEL, Ind. – Members of Carmel High School’s pro-life club replaced a controversial poster after school administrators previously discarded their display.
In November 2016, the Carmel Teens for Life club reportedly spent over 25 hours painting a display which included 300 hearts, each representing 10 lives, to symbolize the written statement “3,000 Lives Are Ended Each Day.”
However, school officials took the poster down after another student complained that it was “offensive,” and the school said it did not meet “club signage guidelines.”
But according to club members, the poster was, in fact, approved for display, as evidenced by approval stamps on each of its component pages.
Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to advancing religious freedom,” threatened to file a lawsuit on behalf of the students if administrators didn’t reverse their decision.
“Carmel High School officials engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination and undoubtedly violated the Carmel Teens for Life members’ free speech by throwing away their sign,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.
Carmel Clay School issued a statement last week that said they would allow the students to hang their poster for 10 days in the cafeteria.
“While we fully support our students’ First Amendment rights, the law does not treat school buildings and grounds as public places open to unfettered exercise of free speech,” said David Day, general counsel for the Carmel Clay Schools Board of Education. “Schools are allowed to determine the time, place and manner of student expression and can prohibit expression as long as it applies that prohibition equally.”
Students created another poster, and they hung it in the cafeteria on Thursday.
“Our decision to allow the sign to return is not the school’s endorsement of the message any more than our decision to remove the sign was the school’s rejection of that message,” Day said.