"We are so grateful to Tiffany for her courage in the face of injustice."
Washington, DC)—American Life League celebrated a free speech victory after a federal court entered a judgment this past Thursday that a California elementary school and three school officials violated the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of a sixth-grade student who participated in ALL's National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day (NPLTD) in 2008.
School officials barred Tiffany Amador from wearing her American Life League T-shirt at McSwain Union Elementary School in Merced, California. NPLTD (now a week-long event) was organized to increase awareness of the personhood of the child in the womb and the tragedy of abortion.
"So often, pro-life students learn that free speech is a constitutional right that, in practice at least, doesn't apply to them," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "For too long, pro-abortion demagogues have had a stranglehold on the country's educational institutions and have sought to stifle dissenting opinions—by force, if necessary, as seen in this case. We are so grateful to Tiffany for her courage in the face of injustice—both the bloody injustice of abortion and the tyrannical injustice of government institutions violating free speech rights."
The shirt featured the word "ABORTION" over a series of panels, two of which depicted pictures of a developing preborn child and the third filled in with black. The caption read, "Growing...growing...gone."
According to William J. Becker Jr. of the Becker Law Firm, representing Amador, the school claimed the images were "disruptive" because of their "graphic nature" but could not explain what made them so graphic that they would have caused any disruption, much less a substantial one, which the U.S. Supreme Court has held is a requirement for a school infringing upon a student's expressive rights.
In addition to claiming that her First Amendment right of expression was violated, Amador, who has since graduated from the eighth grade, alleged in the lawsuit that her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was violated when the school's secretary forcefully pulled her into the principal's office because of her shirt.
"Public school employees work for the government," Becker said. "Any time a school official uses physical force to suppress non-disruptive student expression; the government has gone way too far in enforcing its own political views."
Did you notice something? This elementary school girl was "forcefully pulled into the principal's office because of her shirt." So-called adults "forcefully pulling" a young girl who was not being physically disruptive. This shows just how angry the liberal left becomes when someone other than leftists express a viewpoint protected by the First Amendment. What's more, the U. S. Supreme Court had already ruled that a school could not infringe on a student's right to freedom of expression unless it caused a substantial disruption. The school violated many of Amador's rights, and I think they knew it at the time. School officials at the very least should have known anyway.
If you have children in school, and if at any time you believe the school is infringing on your child's Constitutional rights, then do some research and find out. Do not just take their word for it. Schools, just like any other governmental entity, oftentimes depend on the public's lack of knowledge to run roughshod over our rights guaranteed by the Constitution.