Lehigh Valley

Lawsuit settled, pro-life club established at Parkland

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The lawsuit filed by two Parkland High School students against the school district regarding the formation of a student club has been settled. 

Parkland students Elizabeth Castro and Grace Schairer wanted to start a pro-life club called "Trojans for Life". 

But despite drafting a proposal and getting teacher sponsorship, the students were told they couldn't start their club.

"I was told my club was too controversial and too political. I was a little shaken up but I knew exactly what to do and how to get there," Castro said.

Castro and Schairer said they sent a follow-up email to the school's assistant principal asking what they had to do to get their club going, but never heard back.

Parkland School District was then contacted through a letter by the Thomas More Society, a Public Interest Law Firm representing the students, dated May 17. 

According to a news release from the district, it says on May 23 it communicated its position about what was required to establish the club but never received a response. 

Instead, the students filed a federal lawsuit against the district. 

It was then the school district requested the court to schedule a settlement conference for a "timely resolution of the dispute."

The court accepted, and the district reported in a news release Oct. 24 that the students have agreed to settle their suit and allow the district to approve the club under the terms of the court approved settlement agreement. 

According to the settlement, the club "Trojans for Life" is to be established as a provisional non-curricular-related student club for two years. After two years, if membership is still active it will be awarded full non-provisional club status. 

The district says this status applies to all new non-curricular-related school clubs. 

"As with any other student club, the Parkland School District Administration's approval and recognition of the club as a provisional club is not an endorsement or promotion of the club's mission, goals, objectives or activities," the district states in its news release .


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