Conservative Speakers Not Welcome in Grosse Pointe Schools

School administrators in Grosse Pointe, Michigan are not welcoming Lt. Col. Allen West or Dr. Ben Carson to speak to the student body. The administration at Grosse Pointe North High School has blocked the requests from the Young Americans for Freedom chapter to bring Allen West to campus for a lecture, claiming it would disrupt learning; similarly, the administration at Grosse Pointe South has avoided the requests of the YAF chapter there to bring Dr. Carson to campus.

This is not the first time school administrators in the district have shown their hostility towards conservatives. They repeatedly denied Grosse Pointe South High School students’ requests to host a lecture by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. Only after a lengthy public relations campaign by the YAF chapter and media coverage of the controversy did they allow the event to move forward.

Similarly, administrators allowed prominent businessman and publisher Steve Forbes to speak at Grosse Pointe North High School only after persistent student effort. I myself had to lobby school and district administrators for a year in order to bring Mr. Forbes to speak last spring. We were ultimately able to host the event, for which I am still grateful. The lecture turned out to be very relevant to students’ education, with attendees gaining real insight into current economic issues and advice on how to succeed in the economy today.

Both the Rick Santorum and Steve Forbes lectures turned out to be incredibly successful events–with over a thousand students in attendance for each one–that provided students an opportunity to learn from successful leaders about current events and about how to succeed in pursuing the American dream.

Julia Fox, chairwoman of Grosse Pointe South YAF chapter, was excited to bring in Dr. Carson to speak to the student body this school year, until she was met with inaction from her administrators. She stated, “All of our requests were being ignored and my discussions with the principal were becoming less and less productive and more and more about how he wouldn’t help. It was very confusing and frustrating.” She said that she has also faced a similar response to her chapter’s other activism projects.

Former Grosse Pointe North YAF chair Trent Williams stated that when he requested to bring in Lt. Col. Allen West to speak to the student body, the principal claimed that the event “would disrupt learning.”

As a recent graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School, this administrative opposition to conservative speakers and initiatives doesn’t come as a surprise.

With a history of hosting beneficial events in the district, it is unfortunate to see the two YAF chapters be repeatedly blocked by administrators from holding events with other prominent speakers–events that would be sponsored by Young America’s Foundation.

From my experience, it appears that school administrators are continuing to use their the old and discredited tactics of stalling and ignoring in order to prevent a group of passionate student leaders from organizing events that would, in fact, provide value to young people interested in public policy and business. If they hope to serve the students, I strongly urge school administrators to work with the YAF chapters to make these events happen.

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