Opinion: Anti-Abortion Protesters Disrupt the School Day


Protestor dressed in costume. Photo credit: Michelle Henry (Graphic imagery censored)

Children trying to enter their school and cross the street were stopped and harassed by a religious group handing out anti-abortion propaganda. The group was holding large signs with graphic images of mutilated fetuses and offered flyers to students as they attempted to cross the street.

As soon as students began their approach, the protestors began extending their arms, holding out their propaganda pamphlets. Although peaceful, the group stood firm in their place and blocked the crosswalk so that they could force an interaction.

The protestors were not interested in conversing with or educating the students who walked past. They simply compelled the students to take their pamphlets and look at the graphic imagery that was displayed. When students declined the pamphlets, the protestors began quietly murmuring, “Do you know where you go when you die?” and informing them that “Jesus is your savior and God will save you, Jesus is here.”

The flyers contained religious messages and had in-depth descriptions about the developmental stages of a fetus and shared their idea of life beginning at conception. The pamphlet urges the reader not to make any decisions about abortion until following a link/QR code listed which takes you to a movie created by the group.

I urge you not to seek this video out, as it is very disrespectful, directly describing abortion as “America’s Holocaust”. Should you be making a decision relating to abortion, please speak with a doctor, a trusted adult, and/or obtain your research and information from reputable sources, such as Planned Parenthood.

The propaganda being handed out and the movie being advertised all lead back to a religious group named Living Waters. The flyers are a form of “gospel tracts,” which is similar propaganda that is handed out or left on the ground, full of eye-catching designs and information about their religious beliefs. You may have seen the fake million dollar bills scattered on the ground in populated areas. This is one of these groups most well known “tracts”.

One member of the group attended dressed as a police officer or security guard. This was a very convincing costume, except upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that their hat said “ABOLITIONIST”. The signs being held up showed graphic imagery and displayed the name of a website relating to their cause.

CHS Principal Mike Kapolka commented on the situation, saying that, “We’re hearing from students, they have contacted our counselors, students have contacted administration, they’re uncomfortable, they just want to go to class.”

“The part that I find really disappointing is the fact that it’s impacting our student’s ability to go to class and go to school,” Kapolka said.

Kapolka stated that the group was within their rights to protest and share their voice but emphasized that this kind of protest should not disrupt students at school.

“First amendment rights, I totally understand that, but the fact that our students are going from the high school to the WSEC campus and going from class to class feeling unsafe? That’s the part that I find troubling and it really bothers me that our students are put in a position where they just can’t focus on their schoolwork,” Kapolka said.

Students go to school expecting to go about their day feeling safe and comfortable in their environment. Walking to and from classes outside should be a refreshing experience for students to clear their minds and relax. They should not be burdened by groups causing disruptions.

Everyone has a right to assemble, protest, and make their voice heard. The issue lies when a protestor is disruptive and makes others feel uncomfortable, which is what happened with these protestors in Chelsea. Just as much as everyone has the right of free speech, everyone has the right to go about their day feeling comfortable. Students cannot learn in an environment where they do not feel safe.