National Archives Fires Security Officer Who Ordered Students to Remove Pro-Life Apparel

According to the National Archives and Records Administration, the security officer who told students they couldn’t wear pro-life clothing in the museum has been fired.

According to Debra Steidel Wall, acting Archivist, The Daily Signal obtained a letter from her.

She stated that “this action was against NARA policy.” “The irony of this happening just steps away from the original Bill of Rights permanent display is not lost on my or any of our employees, who proudly welcome over one million annual visitors at the Museum.”

Wall was responding to a bicameral letter from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), seeking answers to the situation. She explained to the lawmakers that the security personnel involved in the incident were private contractors working under a contract with National Archives.


She explained that the vendor had conducted an investigation into the incident and found that the supervisor it employed was responsible for giving instructions to security officers working for the vendor in violation of our policy. The vendor removed the supervisor from NARA’s contract and that person is no longer employed in any NARA facility.

Cruz said to The Daily Signal that he was glad that “the National Archives recognized the seriousness and took the necessary measures to prevent such an incident from ever happening again.”

He stated that the First Amendment rights of prolife visitors shouldn’t have been violated. These rights, along with the documents stored at the National Archives are foundational and must be protected for all.

Wall stressed that the National Archives does not prohibit pro-life clothing. Wall also stated that there was no such policy in place on the March for Life. She further explained that contract security officers asking pro-life visitors to cover their clothes “were in violation of an explicit and long-standing NARA policy which allows museum visitors clothing that expresses political or religious views.”

She wrote that “NARA’s policy explicitly permits visitors to the museum clothing that expresses political or religious views.” “Unfortunately, for a brief period of time, the morning of January 20, 2023, an officer from NARA gave instructions to other security personnel that were in violation of that policy. The security officer corrected the situation that morning.

After the American Center for Law and Justice filed suit on behalf of the four pro-life individuals who visited the National Archives, the National Archives publicly apologised for the incident.

The American Center for Law and Justice also filed a lawsuit regarding a separate incident at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Smithsonian has since apologized.

“All our clients were told at National Archives by employees that they needed to remove their religious and pro-life clothing or leave the museum,” Jordan Sekulow (executive director of American Center for Law and Justice) wrote at the time when his organization sued National Archives. He didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.

He said: “When one our clients questioned this order, a National Archives security agent stated that the apparel would incite others’ and that she was disrupting peace. Another client was also told that her T shirt was offensive and needed to be covered or removed. The text on her shirt was simply “MARCH 4 LIFE 2014: Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group Glen Carbon, IL.

Sekulow said that the National Archives security officers instructed Catholic students and chaperones, to cover-up or remove ALL religious and prolife clothing while they stood in the same room with the Constitution of the United States.

According to the lawsuit, the security officer forced students to take off their pro-life hats, one of which read “Life always wins” and another that said “Pro-life.”

The lawsuit continues

Plaintiff saw another guard give instructions to her classmates. However, no other Rotunda guards interceded or provided contrary instruction. Plaintiff was shocked by the instructions of [the security guard] – considering she was so close to documents that would prohibit government interference with her First Amendment rights to free speech, expression, and freedom to exercise her religion – but she zipped her jacket up and took off her button to protect herself from being thrown out the National Archives. Plaintiff believed that her constitutional rights were being violated, even though she was close to the documents.

Nevertheless, the lawsuit claims that the students who supported life were able to see at least two other National Archives visitors “freely moving around” in clothing with messages like “My Body, My Choice.”

Sekulow wrote, “Treating religious prolife speech differently from opposing speech is blatantly anti-constitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

The lawsuit by the American Center for Law and Justice alleges violations to the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The lawsuit also requests that the court declare the actions of the National Archives security officers illegal and unconstitutional.

Sekulow stated that “What happened is not only inhumane, but it is intolerable.” “We will investigate the causes of this targeted discrimination.”