By Micah Beckwith
Over the last few years, we’ve seen public schools spend millions of dollars on diversity, equity and inclusion officers, as well as Social, Emotional, Learning (SEL) programs designed to make every student feel welcomed, valued and heard. You would think inclusion and non-discrimination would be a high priority for schools like Noblesville High School.
However, that has not been the case this last semester for students like Emma. Emma, whose last name has been removed per the family’s request, is a 15-year-old freshman student at Noblesville High School who felt led to start a pro-life student club called “Students For Life.” Early in the summer of 2021, Emma began laying the groundwork to start the club at Noblesville High School. Students For Life is a national pro-life organization designed to raise awareness for adaption and fight against the brutality of abortion. However, to Emma’s dismay, the school denied her the right to start the pro-life club at the direction of Principal Craig McCaffrey.
Some would say that a pro-life club is “controversial,” but being in a Midwest town like Noblesville, where the vast majority of residents are overwhelmingly pro-life, Emma’s club is hardly controversial. And on the week where SCOTUS heard oral arguments in the Mississippi abortion law that could potentially overturn Roe v Wade in America, it seems completely reasonable that a 15-year-old Noblesville student passionate about the pro-life issue should be allowed to exercise her Constitutional rights of free speech and expression and start a Students For Life club. I mean, after all, we allow satanic clubs to exist in our schools. (Yes, Carmel High School in Hamilton County really does have a club dedicated to Beelzebub himself. And yet, we wonder why our students are more depressed, anxious and suicidal than they’ve ever been. But that’s a whole other topic for another day.)
So why then would NHS and Principal Craig McCaffrey deny Emma her Constitutional rights? Are you ready for this? It is because Emma’s mother sat in on a one-on-one private meeting with a male school administrator where Emma was merely seeking information on starting the club and the school’s policies surrounding clubs in general. In an email sent to Emma’s mother, Principal McCaffrey stated that it was “unusual and unorthodox for a parent to be present (during a meeting).” McCaffrey later went on to explain that due to the mother’s presence in the meeting, he “was not confident that this club is a student-driven club and therefore am removing the club’s approval to meet in school.” After I talked with Emma’s family, they stated a long-standing rule that Emma is not to be alone with any adult male. In a culture where child abuse and sexual assault are rising, it seems entirely reasonable for a parent to set these boundaries. But apparently, this type of parental involvement is unacceptable to Noblesville School officials, and because Emma’s mother was taking an interest in her life these became the grounds for the dismissal of the pro-life club.
Does this sound familiar? It should. Over the previous year, we have seen a nationwide assault on parental rights surrounding a child’s education. From Virginia’s gubernatorial Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe saying that parents have no right to be involved in what schools are teaching their children (Yes, he really did say something that stupid), to Attorney General Merrick Garland designating parents at school board meetings to be “terrorists” (Yes, he really did say something that stupid), to Noblesville Schools
Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer berating concerned parents at a July 20th school board meeting, telling them that they know nothing of respect but “thankfully Noblesville schools will teach your kids respect for you!” – making the implication that parents are ill-equipped to raise their children and that the State should be the ultimate authority in a child’s life. (Yes, she really did say that. You can find the statement on the archived 7/20/21 board meeting video at 1 hour and 36 minutes into the meeting.)
With parental rights being blatantly challenged by liberal administrators around the country and an anti-American curriculum like CRT infiltrating our public education system, the last thing Noblesville School leadership needed was a story like this that exposed their actual liberal bias. For months Beth Niedermeyer has been desperately trying to convince parents within our conservative community that there is no liberal, woke bias polluting the minds of our children. But then Principal McCaffery goes and “steps in it” for no other apparent reason but to prove a point that conservative ideology will not be tolerated or welcomed within the halls of Noblesville High. Ask any closet-conservative teacher at Noblesville Schools or surrounding public schools (and I have), and they will tell you how they are not allowed to share their worldview, all while the red carpet is rolled out for their liberal counterparts to jam their beliefs down the throats of school children. It seems like we may not be getting our money’s worth from these DEI officers who worship at the altar of “tolerance.”
And to wrap it all up, here’s the infuriating part for taxpayers; Noblesville is now being sued for discriminating against Emma’s rights, and it will cause valuable tax dollars to go to waste that otherwise could have been used in the classroom to help teachers teach. The law firm Charitable Allies stepped in on Emma’s behalf and has given the school 15 days to reinstate Students For Life or face the legal consequences. And make no mistake, if Noblesville chooses to dig their heels in out of pure arrogance and stubbornness, they will lose this court battle and we, the taxpayers, will be forced to pay damages and legal fees. Federal law and precedent have already determined this to be true in similar discrimination cases over the last decade around the country.
I hope Superintendent Niedermeyer and Principal McCaffrey will do the right thing and stop discriminating against 15-year-old Emma and reinstate her Students For Life club. After all, doesn’t every Noblesville student have the right to be welcomed, valued and heard?
Micah Beckwith has been serving the Hamilton County and central Indiana area for more than 17 years. He has pastored multiple churches, including his current Life Church in Noblesville. He has been a small business owner and a 2020 Congressional candidate. He is the director of the Indiana Family Institute’s Hoosier Leadership Series and Executive Director of Indiana Family Action – an organization dedicated to raising up elected conservative leaders within local, state and federal government.