In Fargo, many more students will now have the opportunity to learn about the value and dignity of the preborn because two teenagers fought for their right to stand for life.
After a long battle with the Fargo school district, students at two of the districts high schools have prevailed. The Thomas More Society has reported that both the schools in question have officially recognized the pro-life clubs. It said, “Both schools have now approved the pro-life clubs. Davies Teens for Life members already held their first meeting, and Brigid is planning the first Spartans for Life meeting for next week.”
Students at Fargo North and Davies High School, Brigid O’Keefe and Katie McPherson, had sought to start pro-life clubs in their respective schools in the Fargo district, but were met with pushback over the nature of their clubs for being religious and told they would be treated like outside solicitors. This resulted in a discrimination complaint from the Thomas More Society, who said that they were protected against discrimination on these grounds under the Federal Equal Access Act (EAA) and the First Amendment.
Initially, in response to the complaint, the district said it would not discriminate but then demanded new paperwork from students before allowing the clubs. The Thomas More Society then issued a demand the district allow them to start the clubs within the week. This week, the Thomas More Society announced that these clubs had been recognized. Jocelyn Floyd, Thomas More Society Associate Counsel said:
“We are glad that the District and High School Administrators in Fargo have recognized the First Amendment rights of all students, including pro-life students. High-schoolers do not lose their right to form clubs and speak their message just because they are pro-life. Rather, they should be encouraged to add their voices to the marketplace of ideas, as the pro-life students at Fargo North and Davies will now be able to do.”
From start to finish, this ping pong process to start these clubs actually only took about a month from the first letter on April 8 from Thomas More Society to the school district, but it’s been a bumpy month of a battle that didn’t need to happen.
Pro-life students, like any other student group, have the same right to access and expression. Once again, this has proven true. One of the students, Brigid O’Keefe, a sophomore at Fargo North High, said:
“I am happy and thankful that the school has approved our club. We are thankful to the attorneys at Thomas More Society and to Students for Life of America for supporting all our efforts. We look forward to educating our fellow students on the beauty of life at all stages and offering assistance to those in need in our community. I am grateful to Fargo North for approving Spartans for Life, and we look forward to creating a thriving club at our school.”
President of Students for Life of America, Kristan Hawkins, praised the students for their unrelenting stand:
“This victory should encourage any pro-life student to fight for the right to start a Students for Life club at her school. It is often in high school that the first fires of pro-life activism are kindled. Brigid and Katie are great examples of courage, standing up for their pro-life beliefs and fighting to protect the rights of the preborn.”