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Anti-abortion student group says school is treating it unfairly

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TACOMA — A controversy is brewing inside Woodrow Wilson High School over students’ First Amendment rights of free speech.

An anti-abortion student group says administrators are treating them unfairly – and now the district could find itself in front of a lawsuit.


Woodrow Wilson High School freshman Bryce Asberg said his anti-abortion group is being denied constitutional rights. (KCPQ-TV/Seattle)

The anti-abortion group called Wilson Students for Life said the school won’t let them post certain fliers in the hallways, even though the student Gay Straight Alliance club can.

“We’re not trying to limit the free speech of other clubs like the Gay Straight Alliance,” said freshman Bryce Asberg. “We just want to have the same level of free speech that they have.”

Asberg said his student-run club is only trying to keep people informed.

“We’re passionate about the pro-life movement and we want to inform others about our position because abortion is one of the most important decisions and one of the most important political conversations going on right now,” Asberg said.

The freshman said two fliers they wanted posted in the school were denied by the school’s administration because they might offend staff and students. The district said only one was denied.

Now attorneys from Chicago’s Thomas More Society — which provides pro bono services — are threatening legal action if the school doesn’t grant the Wilson Students for Life club the same rights as other student clubs.

“It’s a little confusing for us to understand what the complaint is because, as far as we know, they’ve gotten the opportunity do to everything they’ve wanted to do consistent with the same guidelines that are applied to all groups,” said school district attorney Shannon McMinimee.

Asberg points to other posters made by Wilson High School’s Gay Straight Alliance club.

He says those signs could also be considered offensive by some, but they were approved by school officials and are hanging in the hallways.

“We don’t want more rights than others, we don’t others to have less rights, we just want all of us to have equal levels of what we can say,” said Asberg.

But McMinimee says that out of 32 club posters hanging in hallways, 30 of them come from Asberg’s group.


One of the posters that a high school group wanted to put up in Tacoma.

“Some of their posters have pictures of fetuses and embryos and express their message, and that’s fine because we judge whether a student’s speech can be displayed in the school under some pretty clear U.S. constitutional guidelines,” said McMinimee.

Still, Asberg and the Thomas More Society believe their First Amendment rights are being taken away.

“There was a policy given to us that we could not offend staff or students or make them feel inferior, which we didn’t feel the posters were necessarily doing,” said Asberg.

One solution could be that school administrators would just ban all student club posters.

But Asberg doesn’t like that idea either.

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  • Karen

    So they are a little butt hurt cause not all of the posters are OK. What I great message to send if you don't get everything you want just threaten legal action

    • marj413

      Seems to be the liberal's way of doing things for quite a while. I say the school shouldn't let anyone post anything, it is a place for academics, keep politics out of it altogether.

  • Maibe

    30 out of 32 posters in a hallway are from this anti abortion group , and they want to say they are being oppressed because they rejected a couple? Seriously?! Can we have more 'Hi, Im from a majority in America and I have always gotten my way but someone said no to me for the first time, Im so oppressed!'

  • shoobyboppitydoo

    back in high school, nothing annoyed me more than other high school kids who think they know things standing up for what they think is a cause and then bringing their views into the school setting, loudly…this is an educational institution, keep opinions out of it, especially if the opinions are from a 17 year old

    • Virginia

      Yes, because we wouldn't want kids to start thinking critically about the world BEFORE they reach adulthood. It's not like what they do in childhood or their teenage years is prep work for real life or anything.

    • Concerned Mom of 5

      Very naive. Surely you are aware that the opinions of the teachers and administrators are influencing the students every day in the classroom and via school policies. The outspoken student is likely well aware of the "opinions" being fed him by the school system beginning as early as grade school. His actions serve to educate his peers.

  • truebob

    Typical right wing bullies. 30 out of 32 posters are theirs and they still whine about it. Ban all of the posters and limit non activity clubs to after school activity. And tell them to grow up.

  • easilylost

    Limit the number of posters to 5 per group. Set a poster size limit, and no graphics allowed. If they can't get their message across in that way, they won't get it across period. This would be treating each group equally, something they seem to cry about wanting. Thirty plus posters, from one group, is positively excessive. If you don't set rules and limits, they will continue to push, until the whole darn school is littered with propaganda.

  • Old Tacoma Student

    Steve Kiggins has successfully written one of the most biased news articles I have ever read. From calling Aberg's student group "anti-abortion" rather than "pro-life" to writing "now, the school district could find itself in front of a law suit" the author's social views come through very clearly. I also find it interesting that he calls out 30 posters made by Wilson Students for Life but neglects to mention the poster campaign numbers by the Gay Straight Alliance. Growing up in Tacoma, I was interested in reading about what is happening back home and was disappointed to find this poorly constructed piece. Any high school journalism teacher would fail a student for writing a piece that shows bias like this one.

  • DEE


  • Wilson Student

    This kid is fucking butthurt just because 2 of their posters weren't allowed, so what? They got their message across and I see their posters every day through the hallways and that's still not enough for them? What else do they want, a freaking pedestal? If I ever see that kid on my class I'll fucking sock him.

  • A Foreigner

    Wow. Very profound articulation by Wilson Student. Is that indicative of what the teachers are teaching at the school? Would this be considered hate speech? And who are the bullies, exactly??

  • Tom Liang

    The latest science I know is that even a 10-week old baby in the mother's womb has a human DNA. So the fetus must be human! Hooray for the anti-abortion group!