Numerous Catholic school students were allegedly booted out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., over their decision to wear beanies communicating support for the pro-life message.
Parents of the students, who receive their education from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville County, South Carolina, are being legally represented by The American Center of Law and Justice.
An attorney for the ACLJ said to WYFF-TV that the teenagers made a trip to the museum after joining the annual March for Life on Jan. 20.
At least one of the student’s mothers took to social media in order to post about the incident. She claimed that her daughter told a man at the museum, presumably a worker or representative, that the students were wearing their beanies so they could pick each other out among the crowds at the museum.
The group alleges a security guard demanded they take off their hats or leave the museum entirely. Upon being asked why they were being kicked out, the guard reportedly argued the museum is a “neutral zone.”
“They should be allowed to wear the hats that they were wearing and to be able to express themselves,” Nora Luz Kriegel, a parent, told WYFF. “And I felt it was very wrong that this person harassed them.”
According to WYFF, Kriegel has two young children who attend the school and has expressed a desire for things to change.
“Children deserve to be treated with respect and these children are standing up for human life. For the most innocent human life,” Kriegel declared. “I just don’t understand at all in my being how anybody could look at something that says ‘pro-life’ and say that that is something that is offensive to them in any way shape or form.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) condemned the incident on Twitter, calling it an “Absolutely outrageous violation of free speech.”
South Carolina students were kicked out of a taxpayer-funded building for expressing their beliefs. Absolutely outrageous violation of free speech. https://t.co/aOdmOWEV7j
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) February 1, 2023
Upon being contacted for comment, the school pointed WYFF to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.
The diocese responded with an email that read, “Thousands of Catholic students attend the March for Life every year and we support their right to stand for life.”
A spokesperson from the National Air and Space Museum issued their own statement on the event, writing, “Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident, and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again.”