Student pro-life club in Virginia wins another battle over recognition

By Dave Andrusko

improlifeWhen last we heard about the pro-life club at Courtland High School in Spotsylvania, Virginia, the principal had begun doing the right thing by reversing an earlier decision, however grudgingly.

Last October Principal Larry Marks first declined to approve the “Students for Life” club which submitted its application in September.

“Marks turned down an initial application for the club in a letter Oct. 6, writing that the group did not appear to ‘bear a clear relationship to the regular school curriculum” as required by the division’s policies,’ according to Jeff Branscome of the Fredericksburg Free-Star.

Marks added that if the club were approved, Students for Life couldn’t officially be formed until next school year (2015-2016). School officials insisted that any club seeking “initial recognition” must submit a request before June 1 of the preceding school year.

Marks then heard from the Thomas More Society and Students for Life of America.

In October Sutherland resubmitted the application. In a news release from Students for Life of America, Sutherland said, “Abortion is the greatest violation of human rights in our time, and I believe the pro-life message deserves a voice at my school.

In November, Marks altered his course. He said the Students for Life club would be recognized but until next school year. This did not sit well with Sutherland or the Thomas More Society.

The next day, the club was approved “in light of unique circumstances,” the school division said, Branscome reported.

But that was still not the end of it.

In a story published today, Branscome reported

The Spotsylvania County School Board on Monday unanimously voted to let students establish such clubs more quickly. Members did not discuss their reasons for the vote, which came a few months after the anti-abortion group’s supporters deemed the waiting period for clubs excessive.

Previously, division policy required applications for new clubs to be submitted before June 1 for them to be considered for the following school year. Now, a student can launch a club 45 days after turning in an application to the principal.

In an email to Branscome, Sutherland wrote that the new policy was “great,” adding, “Students will be able to start clubs they would like if they come up with the idea later in the summer or beginning of the school year, just like I had.”