Smithsonian apologizes, changes rules after museum security guard kicks out 15 students for wearing bright blue anti-abortion hats
- South Carolina Catholic school students told to remove their hats or leave
- The museum apologizes but is still facing a lawsuit from a civil liberties group.
- Another pro-life group was expelled from the National Archives the same day.
The Smithsonian has apologized for expelling a group of 15 Catholic school students from the National Air and Space Museum for wearing hats with an anti-abortion slogan.
The museum also signed a consent order promising that visitors would never again be expelled for making visible political speech after a civil liberties group sued.
Teenagers from Our Lady of the Rosary private school in Greenville were on a trip to Washington DC for the March for Life on January 20 when they visited the museum.
They walked in wearing their bright blue march beanies, which had ‘ROSARIO PRO-VIDA’ embroidered on the front.
Lawyers for the students and their chaperones say security employees asked them multiple times to remove their hats before being told to leave the museum. They claim that others wearing hats with different messages were not asked to do the same.
Ben Sisney, senior litigation attorney at the American Center for Law and Justice and lead attorney for the students, said the students were told the museum is a “neutral zone” where they could not express political views.
The Smithsonian has apologized after a group of 15 students from a Catholic school in South Carolina were kicked out of the National Air and Space Museum for wearing anti-abortion hats.
“To think that a group of kids from a Christian school in Greenville, South Carolina are going to come to DC for a great opportunity to participate and express their beliefs and see the nation’s capital and be treated like this is outrageous,” he said.
The Smithsonian issued an apology after the students spoke through their lawyers in February.
We apologize that visitors were asked to remove their hats. Asking visitors to remove their hats and clothing is not in accordance with our policy or protocols.’
“We provide immediate training to prevent this type of incident from happening again and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
The ACLJ also alleges that the Smithsonian agreed to a consent order that would prevent similar incidents like this from happening again.
“This is a positive step that validates that what they went through was wrong,” Sisney said. “This agreed order simply states that that will not happen while this case is pending.”
However, it is likely that no legal action has yet been taken, as the ACLJ is suing the museum on behalf of the students.
The organization also represents a group of schoolchildren who visited the National Archives – the building that houses the original Constitution and Bill of Rights – earlier that day and were also thrown out for anti-abortion clothing, according to WSPA.
About 15 students from Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School in Greenville (pictured) attended the March For Life anti-abortion rally in Washington before visiting the museum.
The Smithsonian (pictured) has since apologized to the students and signed a consent order promising this will not happen again.
Ben Sisney (pictured), lead litigation attorney at the American Center for Law and Justice and lead attorney for the students
The Smithsonian agreed to a consent order (pictured) promising this would never happen again
The National Archives and Records Administration also apologized, saying they “are actively investigating to determine what happened.”
The ACLJ believes that the case will likely begin mediation within the next three months.
‘We have a lot of work ahead of us. We are going to go to mediation and see if we can settle the case or reduce the contentious issues,” Sisney said. “This case could, in theory, go on for quite as long as lawsuits can.”
“We believe the case will be settled by settlement or trial with a final order of that nature, or perhaps even one that goes beyond that,” he added.
“Thousands of Catholic students attend the March for Life each year and we support their right to defend life,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which oversees Our Lady of the Rosary School, said in a statement as the students were expelled. originally. .
DailyMail.com has contacted Our Lady of the Rosary for comment.