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News Link • Education: Government Schools

Court nixes anti-abortion giveaways in schools after students light fetus dolls on fire

• Kay Steiger via

A federal appeals court ruled that an anti-abortion group did not have the right to distribute rubber fetus dolls to a high school because the students destructive behavior on the dolls outweighed the group’s free speech to distribute them, according to Think Progress.

Students from an anti-abortion group called “Relentless” distributed rubber fetuses as propaganda to “put God back into the schools” at two high schools in Roswell, New Mexico, only to have the dolls destroyed in various ways.

“Both schools experienced doll-related disruptions that day. Many students pulled the dolls apart, tearing the heads off and using them as rubber balls or sticking them on pencil tops,” the ruling from United States Court of Appeals 10th Circuit said (PDF). “Others threw dolls and doll parts at the ‘popcorn’ ceilings so they became stuck. Dolls were used to plug toilets. Several students covered the dolls in hand sanitizer and lit them on fire. One or more male students removed the dolls’ heads, inverted the bodies to make them resemble penises, and hung them on the outside of their pants’ zippers.”

Teachers complained that the distribution of the dolls was distracting, according to the ruling. “While teachers were trying to instruct, students threw dolls and doll heads across classrooms, at one another, and into wastebaskets,” the ruling continued. “Some teachers said the disruptions took eight to 10 minutes each class period, and others said their teaching plans were derailed entirely. An honors freshman English class canceled a scheduled test because students had become engaged in name calling and insults over the topic of abortion. A Roswell security officer described the day as ‘a disaster’ because of the dolls.”

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