Students from Our Lady of the Rosary High School attending the National March for Life were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for wearing hats with pro-life messages on them. Security guards claimed to the students that the museum was a ‘neutral zone’ and they were required to either take the hats off or leave the premises. In response to this expulsion, the student’s parents are filing a lawsuit with the American Center for Law & Justice.

As the students entered the museum, staff reportedly mocked the students and hurled expletives at them. The museum staff wanted to refrain from allowing controversial opinions to appear inside. However, according to the students, the hats were used as identifiers. The group was so large that the hats were a necessary precaution against getting lost. Despite this reasoning, the students were still instructed to leave the museum.

Parents of the turned away students are issuing a lawsuit against the Smithsonian. They are claiming that the children’s first amendment right to freedom of speech was violated. While the Smithsonian is not officially a government entity, the museums were founded by the government and receive around $1 billion dollars from the federal government each fiscal year. Parents are outraged that these children’s peaceful display of beliefs were violated. Nora Luz Kriegel, an Our Lady of the Rosary parent, argues how these “children were standing up for the most innocent human life” and “deserve to be treated with respect.”

In the face of an impending lawsuit, Smithsonian leadership is not affiliating themselves with the actions of staff. A museum spokesperson, Allison Wood, stated that “asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols.” Nevertheless, the pro-life parents will continue with the help of the American Center for Law & Justice to fight what they interpret as censorship.

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