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At ADF’s request, Utah school district shows equal treatment to conservative students

ADF attorneys represent Turning Point USA chapter, student at Copper Hills High School
student presentation at school classroom

SALT LAKE CITY – In response to a letter from Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, Jordan School District officials have made changes to uphold students’ freedom of speech and comply with the law. ADF attorneys represent the Turning Point USA chapter at Copper Hills High School and student Matthew Parkinson, a member of the group, and sent a letter on their behalf after school officials censored the group’s speech and denied it the same rights, benefits, and privileges that the district and school provide to other student groups, in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act.

Jordan School District now allows the student group to distribute its desired materials, which officials had previously prevented, and it amended its policy to comply with the law, including adding measures to safeguard against school administrators discriminating against certain groups based on their viewpoint. Additionally, school district officials now recognize the group by its desired name, “Turning Point USA,” which they had previously denied.

“Public schools should foster an environment where students of all political and ideological views can share their opinions freely and peacefully, without censoring views they disagree with,” said ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann. “We’re pleased to see district and school officials abide by the law and respect the Turning Point USA student group’s right to speak freely on campus.”

ADF attorneys sent the letter to the school district in June, outlining how district and school officials had been hostile to the group’s views since the Turning Point USA chapter was first recognized in 2021. As an example, the chapter sought and received the school’s pre-approval to set up a table at lunch to share its views with other students and recruit for the chapter, but school officials abruptly put an end to the group’s speech. The assistant principal instructed the chapter’s officers to take down their posters because they did not represent “both sides.” She also informed the group that—despite the school’s pre-approval—it did not have permission, shut down its table, and marched the group’s officers to the principal’s office.

Frank Mylar, one of more than 4,600 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, served as local counsel on behalf of the Turning Point USA chapter and Parkinson.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to protecting First Amendment and related freedoms for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

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