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Pro-life students sue high school, CCSD alleging discrimination and censorship
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Current and former Clark County public school students are suing their high school and the district alleging discrimination against their first amendment rights.

They are part of the Students for Life club at East Career and Technical Academy, or ECTA.

"We witnessed a lot of animosity from the administrators who I would argue did not like the pro-life message, and so they tried to suppress it as much as possible," said Felipe Avila, who graduated from ECTA in the spring.

Avila founded the Students for Life Club at ECTA back in 2019.

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The goal of the club is to advocate for life and oppose abortion, according to court documents.

Avila claims the club was discriminated against and was censored more than once.

So he, a current board member of the club and Students for Life filed a federal lawsuit against the Clark County School District, the superintendent, the school, and several current and former administrators.

"One of the biggest aspects that we've had to encounter was we've received a lot of flyer denials, and a lot of it sometimes came from the fact that it was either deemed too controversial because it said pro-life messages, or they just flat out refused to give us a yes or no answer," said Avila.

The now college freshman sent News 3 some of those flyers.

Avila shared one flyer that he says was denied on the basis that the club cannot promote outside establishments. The flyer had information for a pregnancy resource center.

But the lawsuit claims numerous other clubs did not have to follow the same policy.

In another instance, the club wanted to publish pictures of flyers regarding the health code and other issues with Planned Parenthood in the school newspaper.

According to the complaint, the principal denied them.

Avila says after being resubmitted by the club a second time, the request was ignored.

The complaint says other clubs were allowed to include pictures of their flyers.

"Most recently, this past year, what our, our legal team did was they sent a demand letter essentially saying, hey, this is the outlining all of the different instances of First Amendment violations and essentially getting the school and the school district the opportunity to remedy these, these violations. and you would think that the school would have backed down and said that they were going to stop discriminating but they doubled down," said Avila. "What would happen is I'd be in the middle of class and I would get called out of class and just sort of receive a verbal denial."

The lawsuit also claims that the defendants failed to address cyber and other bullying attacks against Avila.

"I often received threats and I know specifically one was threatened me when I was walking up the stairs on campus," he said. "There was a student stalking me, which the school completely failed to address, which, again, was- it's the big security threat for me."

As far as the lawsuit goes, the students are asking for a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

"The biggest goal overall would be to make sure that moving forward, the students for life club is having its rights respected, and that the club can continue to operate, but on an equal footing with other clubs," said Avila.

The complaint references district policy that requires the principal to review materials submitted to be distributed at school.

The principal has three days to respond, and if denied, there has to be a reason in writing.

The defendants say they did not receive a written reason.

News 3 reached out to CCSD for comment on this complaint. The district responded by saying that CCSD does not comment on pending litigation.

Reach out to the Crisis in the Classroom tip line regarding any issues important to you in our schools: schooltips@news3lv.com or call 702-805-0489.

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