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School prohibits girl from handing out anti-abortion fliers, father sues

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The father of a St. Paul sixth-grader filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday alleging Nova Classical Academy violated his daughter's free-speech rights by not allowing her to hand out anti-abortion fliers.

The Star Tribune reports Annie Zinos and her friends were handing out fliers during lunchtime on Feb. 27. The fliers included two phrases that were crossed out: “Save the baby seals” and “Save the baby whales.” The next phrase read: “Save the baby humans STOP ABORTION.”

The St. Paul charter school's director for grades 6-12, Miranda Morton, told Annie and her friends that some people were offended by the fliers and she could no longer distribute them.

Nova's policy requires administrator approval before students hand out or post materials at school. Annie's father, Nicholas Zinos, a Catholic book retailer and reviewer, claims there were no written guidelines to follow.

In a letter to Zinos, Nova Executive Director Brian Bloomfield brought up a 1988 court case that gives public schools the right to set limits on student speech, the Pioneer Press reports.

Raleigh Hannah Levine, an expert on the First Amendment at the William Mitchell College of Law, told the Pioneer Press that several court cases over the years have spelled out some limitations to free speech at public schools, but none of them appear to apply in this case.

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