Showing the Truth

BataviaSince their school year was already finished, a group of local pro-life teens, including Dolores and Patty Weber and Nate and Sam Scheidler decided last week to take graphic abortion pictures and stand outside one of their local public high schools (Batavia High School in Batavia, IL) on its last day of school. As soon as they set up their signs, a security guard from the school told them that they would have to move across the street, or else he would call the police. Since these pro-life teens had attended many pro-life demonstrations in the past, they knew they had the right to stand on a public sidewalk, so they didn’t move. Soon more security guards came, and eventually so did the school’s principal, who told Nate Scheidler that the public sidewalk in front of this public school was not public property. Nate disagreed, and said that the First Amendment guaranteed their right to be there. Then, the police came, and they too, like the school’s principal, didn’t believe the public sidewalk in front of a public school was public property. After more back and forth, the pro-life teens continued to stand their ground, and stayed as long as they had planned to. (My co-worker Matt Yonke has more details on the Families Against Planned Parenthood blog.) I have to give them credit: They knew their rights, and they weren’t about to let anyone take them away. Most of the time when we deal with police officers while doing pro-life demonstrations, we have no problems at all, but we certainly have dealt with our share of uncooperative police. That’s why for our Face the Truth Tour next month, we’re working with our attorneys to write a professional brochure to give to police officers in the various cities we visit to explain that we’re well aware of our rights and that what we’re doing is perfectly legal.

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