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February 26, 2014

Protesters won’t move away from NHS

NORMAN — Anti-abortion protesters stood in front of Norman High School for the third day in a row Tuesday.

Holding signs and handing out flyers with graphic, disturbing images, school administration said students were visibly upset by the disturbance to their academic environment. Some protesters were seen thrusting flyers into parents’ vehicles when they dropped their children off at school.

Only a sidewalk separates the high school from public property, which is where protesters stood when Norman Public Schools and later the Norman Police Department asked if the group would move across the street so the high school’s safety and security would not be compromised. As of press time, the group had refused to move.

The protesting group is known as Project Frontlines. According to its website, it aims to bring “the message of abolition to the doorsteps of our nation’s high schools and aims to expose millions of students to the evil of abortion.”

Because the nature of the protesters’ signs and flyers is meant to illicit strong reactions, Norman Public Schools immediately took action to make students feel as safe as possible and keep tempers down, NPS public information officer Shelly Hickman said.

The Norman Police Department has had officers on site to make sure students are not touched by the protesters or unnecessarily harassed, Hickman said.

“The Norman police have done a great job making sure nothing has gotten out of hand since the protesters arrived,” she said.

Hickman also said school administration has been in contact with state representatives to discuss the possibility of creating a buffer zone in front of K-12 schools that wouldn’t allow protesters to be on the district’s doorsteps.

“There are similar laws for picketing lines at funerals and buffer zones during campaigns,” Hickman said. “It’s not about what this group is protesting. It is about the safety and security of our schools and maintaining a functional learning environment.”

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