A Noblesville High School freshman student recently filed a lawsuit against Noblesville High School and Noblesville Schools alleging a violation of free speech rights and intimidation.
According to a press release from Students for Life of America, the lawsuit was filed by Charitable Allies, Inc. on behalf of the student, referenced as E.D. throughout the case file since she is a minor.
Charitable Allies is an Indianapolis organization that works with “nonprofits across the U.S. to assist with a variety of legal issues, including incorporation, tax issues, personnel and HR issues, board governance and training, and litigation support,” according to its website.
Supt. Beth Niedermeyer, NHS Principal Craig McCaffrey, NHS Assistant Principal Janae Mobley, NHS Assistant Principal Daniel Swafford, NHS dean Jeremy Luna and other school leaders, including Alexandra Snider Pasko, Alison Rootes, Allison Schwingendorf-Haley, Byron Simpson, Elizabeth Kizer, Emily Patterson-Jackson, Grace Tuesca and Stephanie Eads, were named in the lawsuit.
The case stated that after E.D. allegedly attempted to form a club chapter for Students for Life of America in July 2021, efforts were made by school leadership to “stave off the nascent pro-life, student-sponsored, club.”
Creation of the club was allegedly denied. The complaint also alleges that teachers for Noblesville Schools then abused their positions by posting defamatory statements on social media about the student by name, including referring to the student as “bigoted” and “misogynistic.”
However, Noblesville Schools issued a statement that said the district offered pro-life clubs in past years, and E.D.’s club was approved, sponsored by faculty and recruiting students this year.
“School administration did recently have to redirect this club — not because of the beliefs of the student or mission of the club — but due to multiple instances of disregard for school protocols,” the statement read. “All student special interest clubs must be initiated and led by students–they cannot be directed or controlled by school staff or others in the community. We’re currently working to ensure club compliance with state laws and school policy. Once the club meets these, we will reevaluate their status.”
Noblesville Schools declined interviews with the NHS administration named in the lawsuit.
“I wanted to start this club to inspire like-minded students to advocate for our most vulnerable and point students to resources designed to uplift them in their time of need. I knew some people would disagree with me, but I never expected to be attacked online — especially by my teachers,” E.D. stated in a press release issued by Students for Life of America.
“The degree to which adults in authority attempted to intimidate a high school freshman is astonishing,” Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins stated. “Noblesville High School officials went all out to ensure that a minor girl could not speak in their presence about her love for mothers and their children, born and preborn, and that she would keep quiet at school. Parents in Noblesville must surely be concerned about school officials turning using media to attack a pro-life girl. Is this a pattern of behavior for Noblesville school officials, using the press to attack community members who share a different point of view? Viewpoint discrimination is unconstitutional in Indiana and nationwide.”
During the process of attempting to get approval for her club, E.D. allegedly showed school officials a flyer that “included a photo of young students in front of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., holding signs that read, ‘We are the pro-life generation’ and ‘Defund Planned Parenthood.’” Both signs are part of the Students for Life of America messaging at pro-life events nationwide. E.D. reported that after seeing those images, school officials allegedly became unresponsive and unavailable as she tried to get the club started.
The lawsuit also alleges that Noblesville High School permits other clubs that are not directly related to educational goals, such as Young Democrats, Police Explorers, Black Student Union, Gender and Sexual Alliance, Conservation club, a “Comedy Sports Club” as well as a “Dungeons and Dragons” group.
The case has been filed in the United States District Court Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. A link to the case can be viewed at charitableallies.org/noblesville/.