Catholic school threatens to expel student over Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop

(Wikimedia Commons/Charlotte Cooper)Planned Parenthood Rally in New York City, 2011.

An all-girl Catholic school in Connecticut has warned a student that she may not be able to return to the school next year if she does not remove a Planned Parenthood sticker from her laptop.

According to Greenwich Time, the administrators of Sacred Heart Greenwich have told sophomore Kate Murray on Tuesday that she can either leave the school now or leave at the end of the academic year, but she can continue attending classes if she decides to remove the sticker.

The student's parents, Brian and Tracy Murray, said that she had removed the sticker, which states "I stand with Planned Parenthood," so that she can continue to go to school and discuss the matter with the officials. However, she has not made a final decision on whether she will finish the school year or her high school education at Sacred Heart.

The head of the school, Pamela Hayes, had declined to discuss the issue directly, but wrote that the school discourages the display of anything "supporting or opposing political candidates, positions or organizations."

Brian and Tracy Murray, who are both attorneys living in Wilton, said that they love the school, but they felt that their daughter was being unfairly targeted.

"It seemed an extreme reaction to a very small sticker, which puts forth a political point of view about a government funding matter and does not, at least the way I read the sticker, violate church doctrine or specifically advocate the murder of innocent babies," said Brian Murray.

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards expressed support for Kate Murray, saying: "Kate, Planned Parenthood is so proud to count you as a supporter. Keep fighting for what you believe in. #IstandwithKateMurray."

Stephanie Viola, a Sacred Heart alumni and a close friend of the Murray family, had launched a petition that has since been signed by more than 2,200 people.

"Unless Kate is allowed her freedom of speech, all of my future donations that would have been allocated to Sacred Heart Greenwich will now and forever be donated to Planned Parenthood," the petition stated.

While Sacred Heart is not a diocesan school, the Bridgeport diocese has expressed support for the school's decision.

In a statement, the diocese said that the school should affirm the church's opposition to abortion while respecting the rights of students to question and challenge moral and ethical issues.

Some online commenters also backed the school's decision, saying Sacred Heart, as a private institution, can implement policies restricting student expression and behavior on its grounds, with some saying Kate Murray can choose not to attend if she does not agree with the school's decision.

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