A teacher in South Bend, Indiana has been suspended after inviting a local pro-life group to speak about abortion during a high school health class.
According to WSBT22, the yet-unnamed Clay High School teacher is on paid administrative leave for failing to secure approval from the principal to invite speakers from “Right to Life Michiana” to present to the class.
Superintendent Todd Cummings addressed the issue in a statement sent to parents, which reads:
The South Bend Community School Corporation is aware and deeply concerned about a group’s unauthorized visit to Clay High School’s health class yesterday. It is clear that policies and protocols were not followed and we apologize. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. We want to reassure our students, families, and community that we are taking this matter seriously and are grateful it was brought to our attention. While we are committed to addressing the health and safety needs of all of our students, policies, protocols, multiple perspectives, and parent notifications need to be followed to ensure the continued trust of our families.
The corporation policy for guest speakers states that the teacher inviting the speaker needs to have approval from the school’s principal; in this case, that policy was breached and these speakers were unauthorized.
Jackie Appleman, executive director of Right to Life Michiana, told the Associated Press that the organization tailored its presentation for a public school visit, omitting prayer and any faith-based or moral views regarding abortion.
“We just talked about the medical and scientific facts of fetal development and what the abortion procedure actually looks like,” Appleman said, adding that the presentation did not involve any graphic imagery typically associated with pro-life demonstrations.
According to the South Bend Tribune, Right to Life Michiana posted on its Facebook page that it was “so grateful to talk about abortion, healing, and local support for a health class at Clay High School.”
The post garnered over 100 comments and invited other community leaders to schedule a presentation with Right to Life Michiana’s “Life Team” at “your youth group or school.”
Now, Right to Life Michiana is organizing an effort to have the teacher reinstated, questioning whether the policy requiring principal approval is being selectively enforced.
“Indiana Right to Life is asking the school corporation to address whether the stated protocol is routinely ignored by staff and if there are other cases of protocol being violated without consequence,” a petition for the teacher reads. “We are deeply concerned this teacher may be unjustly targeted based on politics.”
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