NKY student accuses principal of censoring pro-life group - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

NKY student accuses principal of censoring pro-life group

(Photo: Jordan Villines, FOX19 NOW) (Photo: Jordan Villines, FOX19 NOW)
UNION, KY (FOX19) -

A Northern Kentucky high school student is suing his principal under the claims that he’s being discriminated against.

Patrick Edwards, 18, says he’s been banned from placing "Students for Life" posters at Ryle High School. "Students for Life" is a student organization at Ryle High School with 15 to 20 members who meet on weekly basis to share their views on pro-life issues and volunteer in various outlets throughout the community.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday against Ryle High School Principal states that Edwards’ First Amendment rights were violated when the principal denied the "Students for Life" club the opportunity to display the club’s fliers and posters on school grounds.

“We want to hang up fliers that promote a pro-life message and that would attract students to our club,” said Edwards, a senior at Ryle. “It’s hard to get your pro-life message out there when you’re restricted from putting it anywhere.”

Edwards says since the start of the 2015 school year, he’s gone to Principal Matthew Turner several times asking permission to hang the pro-life posters in the hallway.

“He basically said that because our club was controversial and could offend another student, we couldn’t go out onto our campus and spread a pro-life message,” Edwards said. “Our club was allowed to talk about those things in our meetings but we couldn’t spread our message. We were basically being censored.”

Edwards tells us that all but one of his requests for displaying "Students for Life" posters has been denied. “The poster of Ann Frank and her statement is the only poster that was approved because it had a universal message and doesn’t have anything to do with abortion,” Edwards said

With hopes of being able to express his opinion in its entirety, Edwards decided to file a lawsuit against Principal Matthew Turner. On Tuesday, FOX19 NOW reached out to the principal who gave us the following statement:

“We just received this letter today [Tuesday] and we’re reviewing the concerns within. We believe our school procedures are with full compliance with the law for student organizations. The school does not discriminate against students or student organizations in any way, including their religious and personal beliefs.” 

Edwards disagrees. “Every student deserves the right to have the freedom of speech and that’s what I’m trying to get across,” Edwards said.

If Principal Turner changes his mind by Tuesday, Oct. 20 and agrees to let the "Students for Life" club display their posters and fliers, the lawsuit will be dropped. Otherwise, the litigation will proceed as planned.

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