The Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida, officially recognized a pro-LGBTQ Club, but denied a pro-life club at a school board meeting earlier this year. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the pro-life club in the matter and says that the high school is violating the United States constitution.
The pro-life club, Sharks 4 Life, was rejected by the school principal because it was “too political and controversial.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom letter to the school reads…
“[The] failure to recognize Sharks 4 Life is blatantly illegal under the Equal Access Act and First Amendment, both of which guarantee [students the right to] have a student club that stands on equal footing with the hundreds of other student clubs in Collier County public schools,.”
The school’s decision is contrary to the Equal Access Act, which says that schools cannot receive federal funding if they restrict a student’s right to free speech before or after school on school grounds. The Act guarantees students the right to have meetings that are “religious, political, philosophical” on school grounds so long as it does not interfere with the school day.
Board of Education v. Mergens (1990) also sets legal precedent, and it states that a school that allows one “non-curriculum related student group” cannot deny other groups the privilege from meeting based upon their beliefs.
Gulf Coast High School recognizes almost 80 clubs and includes “political groups like Turning Point USA, Young Conservatives, and Gulf Coast’s Collier Students for Change, ethnicity-based groups like clubs for Korean culture or Asian Culture, religious groups like Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and LGBTQ special-interest groups like the Gay-Straight Alliance.”