COLUMBUS—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio issued a statement in response to the refusal of New Albany High School to permit a student chapter of Amnesty International after receiving complaints about a poster promoting the club.

“It is not the job of school administrators to determine the acceptable political views of their students,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio. “The law is very clear that students in public schools have the right to express themselves and their politics. New Albany High School should immediately abandon their position that the proper response to difficult issues is to silence debate.”

New Albany High School denied a student request to create an Amnesty International Club after receiving complaints accusing the group of being critical of Israel. School administrators have claimed they are protecting students from politically contentious matters.

“Responding to conflict by shutting down debate teaches students the wrong message about engaging people from different viewpoints,” Link said. “Schools should teach young people how to be good democratic citizens through open and robust dialogue with their peers. If we want to live in a country that is not paralyzed by political divides and empty rhetoric, we need to show our young people that this is possible.”