By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RANDLEMAN — According to its Web site, Randleman High School believes in “actively engaged students,” but apparently not when those students are actively engaged in speaking out against abortion.
According to an Alliance Defense Fund report, on Oct. 20 student Brianna Cardwell wore a T-shirt featuring the word “abortion” crossed out and spent time between classes passing out fliers explaining her pro-life views. But rather than compliment Cardwell’s willingness to engage in a social issue, according to ADF, Assistant Principal Tracey Dawes took the fliers and insisted that Cardwell wear her jacket to conceal her T-shirt. She said the shirt and fliers were “offensive” and that the student was violating the “separation of church and state.”
In fact, the Alliance Defense Fund had to write a letter to school leaders reminding them of students’ constitutional rights before administrators would return the fliers and admit to Cardwell that she could indeed wear her shirt and hand out her pro-life information.
“Pro-life students shouldn’t be punished for expressing their beliefs,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman wrote in a press release regarding his organization’s Nov. 24 letter. “Brianna was simply exercising her constitutionally protected right to free speech but was censored by school officials fearful of urban legends regarding the so-called ‘separation of church and state.'”
“Silencing pro-life students simply because they want to exercise their First Amendment rights in a non-disruptive manner is unconstitutional,” he added.
Cardwell’s efforts were part of the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity sponsored by Stand True Ministries.
Randleman High officials did not immediately respond to e-mailed questions regarding the administration’s treatment of Cardwell or its reversing its decision. No one answered the phone at the school, which is closed for the Christmas holiday. ADF commended Randleman High for correcting the actions of the assistant principal.
“We’re glad to see the outcome of this matter and hope that it will be a reminder to other schools that students do not surrender their constitutional rights when they step foot on campus,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We also hope Brianna Cardwell’s willingness to stand up for her beliefs will inspire other students to speak out as well. The only way for any of us to keep this precious privilege for which our forefathers fought is to exercise it.”