Schoolhouse Beat

Appeals court upholds dismissal of lawsuit brought by anti-abortion students in Roswell, N.M.

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit in which students in a Roswell, N.M., anti-abortion group challenged a school district's decision to stop the students' distribution of 2,500 rubber fetuses at two high schools. The 10th Circuit of Appeals ruled in a 55-page opinion that a federal magistrate judge was correct in ruling that the Roswell Independent School District had the authority to stop the distribution. The students had argued that the district's action violated their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. The judges rejected that claim. "The only reasonable inference from the record," the appeals panel wrote, "is that the district disallowed the rubber fetus dolls for the neutral reason that they were disruptive, and that it allowed...other distributions and expressions for the neutral reason that they were not disruptive."

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