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Back to December Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 263 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS DECEMBER 2007

Student Wins Fight to Start Pro-Life Club in High School
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Junior Stephanie Hoffmeier filed a request last school year to start a Pro-Life Club at her school, Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County, Virginia. Stephanie hoped the club would promote teen sexual abstinence as well as the right to life for unborn children, and perhaps even provide support to pregnant teenagers at her school. Administrators denied her request, saying the club's aims were not tied to school curriculum.

"We just wanted to have the same rights as other clubs," Stephanie told the Washington Post (11-6-07). It's not a radical thing to expect equal treatment." Legally, Stephanie was exactly right: under the federal Equal Access Act, if a public school allows any student-run clubs, it cannot disallow any club because of its religious, political or other ideological perspective. Stafford schools do allow clubs, such as the Young Republicans, Young Democrats, Key Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The pro-life club seems to be the first of its kind in the area, which may help explain the school district's confusion on the issue. After Stephanie, assisted by the Alliance Defense Fund, filed suit against the district, administrators realized their mistake. The school recognized the club officially on October 24. About 20 students attended the first meeting.

"Anybody is welcomed no matter what they believe," says Stephanie. A healthy dialogue with students who favor abortion may help forward the club's purpose: "To educate people about the biggest holocaust that is going on right here in the United States. To come together and pray to end abortion. To be a voice for [our] generation and a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves."


 
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