The world’s largest museum faces being sued after its staff were accused of mocking and abusing a group of young pro-lifers.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC is in damage control after its staff allegedly asked a group of 12 Christian school students and their chaperones to leave because they were wearing pro-life beanies
The students were in the capital to attend the annual March for Life event.
Their distinctive blue beanies had the words Rosary PRO-LIFE to ensure they could constantly identify all members in their group.
They were from Our Lady of the Rosary School in South Carolina.
The school and students have engaged legal nonprofit The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Its lawyers claim the staff at the National Air and Space Museum accosted the students multiple times, mocking them, using abusive language against them and celebrating as they left.
The staff allegedly told the group the museum was a ‘neutral zone’ where they could not express the statements on their beanies.
In a statement to The Christian Post the museum apologised on behalf of the institution.
It said a security officer mistakenly told the young visitors that their pro-life hats were not permitted in the museum.
A spokesperson said: “Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate retraining to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of error.”
The ACLJ has warned the Smithsonian Institution to prepare for litigation.
Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said the museum “states on its website that they ‘welcome all people to explore’ its museums, apparently just not kids with pro-life views.”
“This was a clear-cut First Amendment violation, not only of their freedom of speech but of religion as well. The federal government simply cannot ban speech with which it or its employees disagree.”
The Smithsonian Institution is a group of 21 museums and education and research centres created by the federal government.
It receives around A$1.5 billion from the US government each year.