Pro-life high school students from Greenville, South Carolina won a legal victory against the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum this month after they said museum staff kicked them out for wearing pro-life hats.
WSPA 7 News reports the Smithsonian recently agreed to a court order that prohibits the museum from discriminating against future guests based on their beliefs. The museum also issued an apology to the students from Our Lady of the Rosary School.
Ben Sisney, senior counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the students’ lawyer, described the order as a “positive step that validates” how the students were treated wrongly.
“This agreed order just sets in stone that that won’t happen while this case is pending. It’s our belief that the case will resolve either by settlement or trial with a final order of that nature, or maybe even one that goes farther than that,” Sisney continued.
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He told the news outlet that they also want to find out why the museum staff targeted the pro-life students.
“To think that a group of kids from a Christian school in Greenville, South Carolina are to come up to D.C. for a big opportunity to engage and express their beliefs and see the nation’s capital and be treated like that is outrageous,” Sisney said.
On Jan. 20, twelve students from the South Carolina school and several chaperons walked into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum while visiting Washington, D.C. for the March for Life rally on the National Mall.
All of the students wore blue hats that read “Rosary Pro-Life” to identify themselves with the group, student Patrick Murphy told Fox News host Sean Hannity in a recent interview.
Murphy said their group was looking at one of the exhibits when two women who appeared to be security guards walked up to them. They told the students, “‘All people wearing a pro-life hat, take it off,’ and immediately we’re confused,” he said.
Murphy said they defended wearing their hats, pointing to their First Amendment freedoms, but the staff did not seem to care.
A few days later, the Smithsonian issued an apology to the students, and a spokeswoman said the staff are being re-trained, the Washington Times reports.
The ACLJ sued the museum on the students’ behalf to ensure it does not discriminate against others in the future. The pro-life legal group also is representing pro-lifers in a similar case that occurred on the same day at the National Archives.
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