ACLJ Puts Smithsonian on Notice to Preserve Docs, Expect Lawsuit, Regarding Removal of Pro-Life Students

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has sent a letter to the Smithsonian’s general counsel putting the museum on notice to expect and prepare for a lawsuit on behalf of a group of Catholic high school students who were expelled for wearing beanies with pro-life messages.

The students were visiting the Nation’s Capital for the annual National March for Life when the incident occurred, Fox News reports:

 “The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum kicked out a dozen Catholic high school students and their chaperones for wearing beanies inscribed with pro-life messages.

“On Jan. 20, students and chaperones from Our Lady of the Rosary School based out of Greenville, South Carolina, traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual National March for Life. The group members were all wearing matching blue beanies with the words ‘Rosary PRO-LIFE.’”

On Tuesday, ACLJ reported that it had sent a letter to the Smithsonian, on behalf of the students and their parents:

“The ACLJ is now representing six Christian students and two parents (and we anticipate more) who were unceremoniously kicked out of the Smithsonian for wearing pro-life hats. We have just delivered a legal letter putting the Smithsonian on notice to prepare for litigation in this matter. The rights of these Christian students and parents to express their pro-life views must not be allow to be silenced by these unconstitutional actions. We will keep you updated is this case progresses.”

In the letter, ACLJ puts the Smithsonian on notice and demands the museum preserve all relevant materials regarding its staff’s encounter with the students:

“Also please be advised that the Smithsonian is hereby put on notice of potential/anticipated
litigation concerning the above incident. We demand that the Smithsonian personnel, and
agents preserve all materials that may be in any way relevant to said incident.”

On Tuesday, Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) released a statement, condemning the museum’s treatment of the students:


“Appalling that a government-backed institution hailed as an educational resource apparently censored these students’ free speech and abused their first amendment rights. This discrimination is horrendous and these students deserve an explanation.”

Alison Wood, the Smithsonian’s deputy director of communications, has reportedly issued a statement saying that the museum has provided “training to prevent a re-occurrence” of the incident:

“Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident, and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again.”


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