I got an email from my son this morning telling me that there were abortion protestors in front of his school, with large posters of aborted fetuses and other assorted gore, handing out pamphlets and trying to engage kids in discussion. They were on a public sidewalk and were well within their right to be there. Question is: should they have? Is the school an appropriate place to protest abortion, and is accosting students on their way to class with large bloody posters of dead babies an appropriate way to engage them.
To give you an idea of how bad these things are, the first time I saw them, my first reaction was actual nausea, my second reaction was to scream in horror, and my third reaction was a desire to grab one of those posters and shove it up their asses using a backhoe. I’m not just saying this as a parent who lost a child and held her stillborn in her arms, weeping. I’m saying this as a person who understands that attempting to shock, frighten and disgust 14-17 year old kids into your way of thinking is not appropriate.
According to the email I got from the school:
This morning, members of the Human Life Alliance appeared on the public sidewalk in front of Washington-Lee. They had signs and attempted to distribute flyers and to engage students in discussion. No advance notice was given to Arlington Public Schools or to Washington-Lee and this was not an approved event. W-L administrators and the Arlington police asked the group to move across the street, but the individuals refused, noting that they were in the public domain on a public sidewalk. While that is true, it is unfortunate that they chose that type of confrontation method to express their views to children who are mostly ages 14-17. Please be assured it is not anything we would ever approve or encourage, and we regret that the events took place this morning.
Fact: these people were trying to hand out literature to students and pull them into a conversation on abortion as they were going to class.
Fact: they were carrying signs and posters that were disgusting and disturbing.
Fact: they were well within their right to be there.
Fact: they were politely asked to move across the street, but refused. They were not forcibly removed, and their rights were not violated.
So, my opinion is that this was an inappropriate venue and a counterproductive way to get the pro-life message out. They were interfering with students. They were attempting to engage them in a political discussion on their way to school. And they were obviously using shock tactics to do so.
Yes, it’s legal.
No, it’s not appropriate.