The Death Knell for Valedictory Speeches

The past month or so has seen a number of conflicts, some not new, over what is acceptable content in a high school valedictory speech. The latest interations cover matters ranging from the proper role of religion, to whether a blunt criticism of the education provided by the school is properly addressed in a valedictory speech.

What all of these incidents, old and new, point to is a coming death of the high school valedictory speech. But a larger questions are presented on a constitutional level, such as whether the valedictorian (or valedictorians) represent the schools in a sense that they are prohibited from mentioning religion and at what point do full free speech rights attach?

A coulpe of weeks ago, a young woman, Brittany McComb, the valedictorian of Foothill High School near Las Vegas, had her microphone turned off mid-speech because she planned to mention Jesus Christ as the most important person in her life.

However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.

They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored.

Before she delivered her commencement speech, McComb met with Foothill administrators, who edited her remarks. It's standard district practice to have graduation speeches vetted before they are read publicly.

School officials removed from McComb's speech some biblical references and the only reference to Christ.

But even though administrators warned McComb that her speech would get cut short if she deviated from the language approved by the school, she said it all boiled down to her fundamental right to free speech.

While I agree with position that graduation is a school sponsored event, I am not as certain that references to the Bible (a well read and published book) or to Jesus Christ amount to proselytizing nor am I convinced that the "standard practice" of vetting valedictory speeches is proper.

Even assuming, arguendo, that McComb's speech would be considered by the courts to be proselytizing, I don't believe McComb should be bound by the rules normally associated with preventing public schools from establishing a religion. McComb, and others like her across the country, are not asking for public funds to be expended to support her religion, they mere seek to let people know from where they draw the strength to achieve the spectacular goal of graduating at the top of their class. Furthermore, McComb is not an agent of the school, she is not appearing or holding herself out as an agent, but rather she has been chosen to represent the student body.

While religious references in valedictory speeches probably concern most school officials, the speech that must give them nightmares is teh speech that criticizes the school. Such was the speech of Kareem Elnahal, the valedictorian at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, NJ. Elnahal's speech is one of the most damning critiques of modern public schools from a student who achieved much by those schools' standards, yet feels cheated by the experience.

Education can be defined a number of different ways. For me, it is the product of human curiosity. Intellectual thought, as far as I can tell, is nothing but the asking and answering of questions. In my reflection, however, and I have reflected on this a great deal, I found that many of life’s most important questions are ignored here. What is the right way to live? What is the ideal society? What principles should guide my behavior? What is success, what is failure? Is there a creator, and if so, should we look to it for guidance? These are often dismissed as questions of religion, but religion is not something opposed to rationality, it simply seeks to answer such questions through faith. The separation of church and state is, of course, important, but it should never be a reason for intellectual submission or suppression of any kind.

[snip]

We study what is, never why, never what should be. For that reason, the education we have received here is not only incomplete, it is entirely hollow.

[snip]

Ladies and gentlemen, the spirit of intellectual thought is lost.

[snip]

But I know how highly this community values learning, and I urge you all to re-evaluate what it means to be educated.

Elnahal's speech is an uncomfortable indictment for those sitting on the dais, I'm sure. But was he right to make the speech. Obviously, school officials have a hypocritical answer:
Daniel Loggi, superintendent of the Atlantic County, N.J., School District, said he was not troubled with Elnahal sharing his thoughts, but disagreed with the manner in which he chose to do it.

"I don't have any problem with anybody speaking what they feel." Loggi told Cybercast News Service. "But there are certain parameters when you have a graduation or any kind of ceremony where you prepare for it. I don't believe the way he did it was appropriate."

Loggi added that the student did not give school administrators the chance to either approve or disapprove. "Who knows whether the Mainland administration would have approved it or not. Maybe they would have, but he didn't give them that opportunity."

I find it highly unlike that the school would have approved of the speech.

But McComb's and Elnahal's stories present, as I said, larger questions. What speech rights do these no longer students have? If high school graduation is supposed to be a passage into adulthood, when young men and women should be accorded certain additional rights. Admittedly, schools have a responsiblity to prevent certain kinds of speech that may be disruptive of the educational mission of the school. But a valedictory speech is not in school, by its very nature, it occurs at the end of the schooling process. Should not the speaker, as long as they are not violating other limitations of speech, such as inciting violence, be fully protected.

Should speeches be vetted prior to them being delivered? Make no doubt, it is a form of censorship, but should it be permitted for a person who has not only graduated, but graduated at the top of their class? Should not the speech that challenges us, questions us, pushes us be protected as much as the normal platitudes we may hear in valedictory speeches? I would argue they should be protected more, for the very reason that they make us uncomfortable.

I do not fault, and indeed applaud, McComb and Elnahal for their actions and their desire to speak their mind. The question of their right to speak as they see fit is a challenging one, but sadly, I fear the reaction of the education establishment will be to prevent such incidents again. Schools with either institute broad censorship programs that prevent speechs like these by requiring a review by school officials or just ban valedictory speeches all together.

In the end the lesson will be that free speech in high schools is something you only get to study, not practice.

Posted by Matt Johnston at July 7, 2006 8:43 AM
Comments
Comment #165387

Yeah I am going to say something I can’t believe I am. I think the educational system has completely trammeled upon the freedom of speech and of privacy of students these days. I understand that court decisions have found that students have a limited right in these areas, but schools have completely overreacted and I think have created a police state in the system. For evidence as to the kind of citizens a police state produces, see many of the historical examples. It is especially ridiculous to worry about graduation speeches; since they by definition have already graduated and anything learned post-graduation surely cannot be the fault of the school, or at least not the responsibility. I think the lady doth protest too much in regards to these issues.

Posted by: Xander Jones at July 7, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #165389

You have brought up a couple of different points. With regard to the religion angle, I have only one question. Would your opinion change if it were a different religion? You say …they mere seek to let people know from where they draw the strength to achieve the spectacular goal of graduating at the top of their class, but would you defend that same sentiment in a valedictory praising Allah or Wicca or atheism? I am not trying to be argumentative – I just seek clarification.

The second point has to do with the freedom of speech. You ask: Should not the speaker, as long as they are not violating other limitations of speech, such as inciting violence, be fully protected. But this is not a matter of free speech. It is a matter of sponsored speech. They are completely protected from saying whatever they wish, but they do not have a right to a school sponsored stage and audience. The valedictorian is invited to speak to the student body, and certain parameters are laid out for that student. If they do not care to adhere to those parameters, they can decline to participate.

I do think you are right in saying that valedictory speeches may be discontinued in the future. But I think the danger is instead coming from the movement to do away with class rank altogether – an extremely dangerous proposition in a society that purports to be a meritocracy.

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 9:39 AM
Comment #165391

They are completely protected from saying whatever they wish…

Ooops, maybe a Freudian slip? I meant of course that they are completely protected in saying whatever they wish…

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #165392

Matt,

When I became an adult in the late ’60s and early ’70s, faith was a private matter between you and your God. Faith didn’t seem to become a public thing until the rise of the televangelists, and the mega-churches that followed.
That is not to say I hadn’t seen proselytizing on the street corners of Hollywood, but those folks were considered loony toons and way out of the mainstream.
I just don’t get people’s need to announce their faith everywhere, all of the time.
IMHO, a valedictorian speech is a time to reflect on things past and put forth dreams of life ahead, and while a short reference to ones personal faith may be appropriate, going on and on about it, is just over the top.

On the subject of “free speech” and “privacy”; teens, in reality, had none. They were subject to their parents rules until they turned 18 and moved out of their parent’s home, and we respected that.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #165394

Great article. It seems like almost every week there is another story in America where some institution is trying to limit speech. Of course, it is always for a good excuse, I mean reason. :) In the end, the benefit of the doubt should always go to the speaker. There are actually extremely few things that should be censored. In America, it has gone WAY too far to stifle free speech and thought in the name of things like prothytyzing(sp), sensitivity, being offesive, etc.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #165397

p.s. love the comments by the kid from new jersey.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 10:03 AM
Comment #165401

Matt,

From the speech;

“I found that many of life’s most important questions are ignored here. What is the right way to live? What is the ideal society? What principles should guide my behavior? What is success, what is failure? Is there a creator, and if so, should we look to it for guidance?”

This is far from being an indictment of the state of public education.
This is an indictment of proper parenting. Every one of these questions should be asked and answered of the child’s parents.
The school’s job is to educate, not raise a child.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #165403

The most hypocritical comment I’ve ever seen on a blog??

Rocky you said, “I just don’t get people’s need to announce their faith everywhere, all of the time.”

As you are posting your views on public blog???

What’s not to get - you post your political views, someone else wants to post their views (religious or otherwise).

hmmmm, I just don’t get people’s need to announce their political views everywhere, all the time.

Also, “in the late ’60s and early ’70s, faith was a private matter between you and your God.”

Yep, in a lot of people’s mind that pretty much marks the beginning of the decline (and now fall) of public education. Those young adults in the ‘60’s and ’70s were so “enlightened”. We’re paying big time now for that generations mistakes.

Posted by: MiPatriot at July 7, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #165405

Roger:

If a valedictory speech by a Moslem had said the same thing about Mohammed nothing would have been said… out of fear of what Mohammedan believers would said or how they would react.

But if a person is a believer in the GOD of Abraham - Isaac - Jacob, or in the Lord Jesus Christ, all of a suden it becomes a reason for the Civil Liberties Union to protest.

I wounder if they would have protested if she had given credit to Mohammed, and I wounder what would have been done by the Moslem’s if the same thing had happen to one of their people?

QUESTION: If you are a Moslem.. could you tell me what you think the Moslem people would have done, or would be doing?

Roger

Posted by: ROGER at July 7, 2006 10:31 AM
Comment #165406

MiPatriot,

Apparently you didn’t read the entire post.

I was raised to respect and honor my parents, and though I don’t have children of my own, I would have attempted to instill those same values in my children as well.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #165407

Wulf,
I often hear people say as you do that school is sponsored speech and therefore is somehow not protected by the first amendment. However, I think that is misleading. We are all coerced under penalty of law and punishment to pay our taxes which then buys the schools, the microphones, the teachers, etc. So in effect, anyone valedictorian (or any other person) who has a job and pays taxes is in effect paying to censor themselves. as the comedian says, “what a country”. There is a real disconnect there that hardly anybody picks up on. Furthermore, the law also requires these kids to attend school and spend most of their time in school or homework. its basically like saying, “we are going to make you come here whether you like it or not, we are going to charge for it whether you like it or not, and then you’d better not even say anything we dont like while you are here”. what a scam. I also think it is mileading to say the valedictorian is “invited”. technically, you are correct. however, valedictorians are generally the highest GPA. They are not randomly picked or invited. They earn their way to that podium over four years of very hard work.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #165408

Wouldn;t it just be easier to have the schools put a disclaimer in their program if they are that worried about it “Any comments made by any speaker during this priogram, are not the expressed views of so and so school”

Posted by: RHancheck at July 7, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #165409

I wonder when we became so fragile? Unlike one of the writers above, I grew up in the 60s and my Texas school day began with a (Christian) prayer. And during football season, it was followed by singing the Notre Dame fight song (my Irish Grade school principal’s alma mater) which no doubt tramatized our parents; yet I have managaged to survive intact. For those whose faith has been part of their life experience, I enjoy hearing about it. It has not offended my faith, nor am I concerned that the pillars of our republic should be weakened by the discussion of anyone’s faith regardless of the venue. It seems that we have evolved a spurious arbiter of correctness whose intent is to apply indiscriminate censorship based on cryptic principles. To me, this is a much greater threat than someone talking about their religion.

Posted by: Mike at July 7, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #165410

mike,
“indiscriminate censorship based on CRYPTIC principles”.
very well said.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #165411

Blogthing, are you actually saying that every taxpayer has the right to give a valedictory speech at the graduation ceremonies of every public school? That’s a pretty absurd proposition - how workable is it to have one thousand or more speakers?

I would say the same of your argument about compulsory attendance - should every student who attended the school therefore be given a stage and an audience to say whatever they like? Absurd.

Should they be given the freedom to stand outside and say whatever they like? Absolutely. The sponsorship of the speech is the whole difference. Just because it is a public school does not mean that it is a free-for-all. Take that to the town square.

Furthermore, it is not in the least bit misleading to say that the valedictorian is invited to speak. I never implied that such an invitation was random. But their hard work does not give them any special right to a microphone, and the school is not legally bound to let them speak at the graduation ceremony.

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #165413

Educational system, now that is the problem. School no longer is reading, writing, math, it is now the way teachers get their views out to as many as possible in a captured audience. This is from grade school thru college. You have conservatives and liberals both spouting off, and who better to brain wash then the kids who think that the teachers, school district know what they are talking about, and to say something different leads to the microphone being cut off, or expelled from school. Freedom of Speech, it use to be almost anything you wanted to say but now it seems that you can say anything you want as long as it does not hurt my feelings.
I hope she yelled that she had the help of Jesus Christ so that even though the mike was off, she was heard throughout the crowd.

Posted by: KT at July 7, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #165415

We don’t get to say everything we want to say in school, so why should we say anything we want to representing the school at graduation? The Valedictorian is speaking on behalf of their high school, and a review of the material and adherence to school policies is not too much to ask. Before we start crying double-standard here, ask yourself what would be the appropriate response to a valedictorian unleashing a string of curse-words, talking about their sexual adventures, or displaying graphic photos of the results of abortions or combat injuries.

I have no problem with somebody speaking about their beliefs, as long as they recognize that this event is not about them in particular, but the graduating class and the school in general.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 7, 2006 11:37 AM
Comment #165418

wulf,
i didnt say every taxpapyer has the right to give a valedictorian speech or anyone else or any of the other stuff you think i said. are you sure you are responding to my post?
i also did not say they have a right to the microphone. in fact, nobody in the world has a “right” to a microphone. I cant really resond to your post becuase it didnt respond to mine.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #165420

I don’t believe that these School District officials acted on the belief that they had the right to redline every reference to religion in Miss McCombs speech. It’s much easier to imagine that they tried to curb the language and when unsuccessful, resorted to censorship. If I said, “I gained my strength and commitment through my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ”, there would be an immediate limitation of reference. Wheras, I could say “I gained my strength through my personal spiritual beliefs”, and give the same impression with a much broader impact. It’s a shame that as valedictorian, she wouldn’t have picked up on this while drafting her speech.

Posted by: DOC at July 7, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #165422

Blogthing, you said that anyone who has a job and pays taxes is in effect paying to censor themselves.

Your use of the term “censorship” is misleading. It implies that these taxpayers are being suppressed and deprived their right to free speech. No such thing is happening.

You also tried to make a connection to compulsory attendance, but I don’t see that any connection exists - besides which, children are not required to attend public schools anyway.

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #165425

C’mon, who here really thinks that letting nearly random students speak about nearly random topics (incl some Christians, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics, …) really is the US GOVT espousing and promoting ONE religion???

How about we give valedictorians tolerance over anything that seems related to the topic at hand (e.g., education, what got him/her to this point, approaches for living one’s life going forward, etc.) SO LONG AS IT SEEMS THE SPEACH IS *INTENDED* FOR THE PRIMARY BENEFIT THE AUDIENCE.

Not Ads (paid or unpaid) intended to benefit an outside group more than the Audience (e.g. a specific religion, car company, or point-of-view (Bush/Clinton bashing, abortion is good/bad, etc.)).

But if a valedictorian really feels a certain religion/philosophy was a key to success, why preclude this?

Posted by: Brian at July 7, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #165426

wulf,
it is not misleading. you pay taxes to go to school, you get censored in school, you paid to get censored. its very simple. and, yes, they are being deprived of their right to free speech.
also, children ARE required to attend schools. Whether or not they are public is not relevant to this discussion. Although I have a lot to say about public vs private too if you want to get into it. censorship at a private school would be a stronger argument than censorship in a public school.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #165428

blogthing,

“it is not misleading. you pay taxes to go to school, you get censored in school, you paid to get censored. its very simple. and, yes, they are being deprived of their right to free speech.”

It is misleading.
First of all children don’t pay taxes to go to school. Parents pay the property tax that pays for the school.
Wow, censorship in school?
Do children get the right to say anything they want at home?
If not why would they expect to be able to say anything they want at school?

If you gave a speech that reflected on your work place, wouldn’t you expect that your boss should be able to read it first?

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #165429

by the way, even if you do not attend a public school, you do still pay for it.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #165430

The home and workplace are not publicly funded.

also, are you serious when you say that parents pay taxes and not the kids so you can sensor the kids. hahaha. oh, pleeeeeeze

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #165431

I think too much is being made of this, most likely because of the ACLU’s involvement. I graduated high school in ‘97, and was best friends with our valedictorian. His speech was censored and cut and revised by several faculty and city officials (it was a small town). He was also informed that the faculty would have the “approved” copy, and if he deviated from the script he would be cut off. He didn’t mention religion, nor attempt to, but the fact is it was a school function. There have been severe limitations placed on students’ rights to free speech, be it dress codes or limitations of rights to protest. This is done, supposedly, to protect the educational environment. More often than not, the speech that is being limited it is students who are against the system, and the right cheers along. Not so comfortable when they are limiting speech you agree with, eh?

Posted by: David S at July 7, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #165432

david s. - good insights. especially about how the censorship is mainly for speech against the system. chilling stuff I think.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #165433

At face value the situation with Mr. Elnahol is pretty humorous, but if you take a hard look at what was said in the speech, it’s almost unbearably sad. If he speaks as a representative of even a small fraction of his classmates, then there is a segment of youth that are being given an abundancy of facts but not taught critical thinking. The underlying message that is being taught is Knowledge is power, power will get you money, and money will make you happy. The message wasn’t significantly different 25 years ago when I fell for it. I can tell you it’s the biggest joke that we perpetrate on our children.

Posted by: DOC at July 7, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #165434

blogthing,

“are you serious when you say that parents pay taxes and not the kids so you can sensor the kids.”

Absolutely.

Laugh all you like.
A school is a student’s workplace. It is their job to learn, it is the teacher’s job to help them learn.
It is the parent’s job to provide the basis from which to learn, the values if you will, that form the foundation to learn.
We shouldn’t expect to hand the teachers an empty palette to fill full of mush. The values should be there to begin with.
There are rules of decorum that stifle free speech in schools, otherwise there would be chaos.

So yes, there is censorship at schools.

And that is as it should be.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #165436

so rocky, then you would say that mentioning god in a speech at school is acceptable censorship because mentioning god would otherwise cause chaos? hahaha.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #165438

i just get this picture of some pimple faced kid mentioning god at a commencement speech and all hell breaks loose. there is a stampede to the exits. people get trampled. somebody yanks the principles tie knot. chairs being thrown about. aunt mildred falls into the band. hahaha. all this becuase god was mentioned and chaos ensued.

Posted by: blogthing at July 7, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #165439

blogthing,

“so rocky, then you would say that mentioning god in a speech at school is acceptable censorship because mentioning god would otherwise cause chaos?”

No, mentioning God in a speech isn’t a problem, until proselytizing becomes the main purpose of the speech.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #165440

blogthing - Thanks for the chuckle, I basically used your imagery and added the prom scene from “Carrie”.

Too funny.

Posted by: DOC at July 7, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #165442

According to the courts…

Valedictorian can burn an American flag if outside. (That’s free speech).

Valedictorian should not mention God (Separation of Church & State)

Posted by: Don at July 7, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #165443

Having read through a few of the S C decisions concerning prayer, vis a vis football games, morning quiet time or graduation, the main arguement seems to be supervisory control. If the offending student(s) make(s) a religiously based, non secular reference to God it is held by the court that allowing such would show to the world that the school board in question would be endorsing that offensive religious speech. Not being or claiming to be a legal or Constitutional scholar, I need just a few answers to make that stretch of logic fit in my small mind.

1) Are these students seniors? Graduates?

1a) Do the students work for the School district?

2) Is the graduation ceremony held during the school season? During a school day?

3) Where in the Constitution does one find a right to not hear something you don’t want to hear?

I’ll start with 3: How equal before the law is it for a minority of individuals to claim special hearing rights? If you hear it, you will be taken up into a religious whirlwind and become christian? Jewish? I hear all manner of things during the day, is that going to change who I am? What I believe? Silliness!

number 2: This is not education. This is a ceremony held on school grounds - not during school hours or even when school in in session. The Supremes have found that bible study groups have the right to use the school grounds after hours, does a graduation ceremony now amend the school year? Does this controlling supervisory power ever end? When? Who decides?

1a) While I personally find offensive the idea that an employee of a school district can have their speech controlled, never the less if they are employees the Supemes have found they have no free speech rights. The students are individuals, at 18 years of age recognized as adult enough to vote and fight our battles in the military, why must the school district continue it’s supervisory control over such persons?

1) These individuals, as graduates, have no more ties to the school district, no legal ties that bind them to the laws that are stacked up against the school district. With or without the ceremony, these young adults are no longer students, they are citizens of the respective states where they live and of the US at large, they deserve and have earned the chance to exercise their own right to free speech.

In short, supervisory control seems to mean that while on the grounds, students, teachers or selected speakers must meet a tightly held speech code or be silenced. Silenced because under this supervisory control anything they say while on those grounds may lead others to believe the controlling authority endorses the speech being made. Here is my quandry. If a recognized group, one widely held to be racist, with a documented history of violence against minorities is allowed, (via permit), to stand on the steps of a City or County government building, spewing forth their vile, evil, corrosive rants, calling for violence against minorities - can I assume that the City or County government endorses such speech? Violence against minorities? Hate-speech? I would say not, but apparently the Supremes feel otherwise. When do I get to exercise my Constitutional right to not be stupid enough to fall for anything I hear, to be intelligent enough to think for myself? To no be offended, by anothers speech or beliefs but to hold fast my individual core values? If, as the Supremes have ruled, speech is only free when no one else is offended, how long will it be before speech is no longer free at all?

Posted by: JR at July 7, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #165445

I think the issue here is not whether this speech was or was not proselytizing. I think the school district was scared of being sued after the fact, as most institutions in this country are. They took the safe way out, and I don’t see a problem with it.

The real question of whether or not students first ammendment rights are limited has been decided long ago. School faculty can limit students speech as they see fit. They don’t even have to give a valid reason.

That said, I stand by my earlier statement. If some heavy metal/goth kid had been valedictorian and wanted to praise Satan in his speech, there would be no blog about it. Certainly not on the red side. Neocons are all about equal rights, as long as you’ll say the right things.

Posted by: David S at July 7, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #165446

JR:

How did the graduation ceremony become a non-school sponsored event in your mind? It’s part of the school process.

Lets just mail the kids their diplomas and solve the whole dang thing.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #165448

JR-

Your response on number 3 is a slippery slope that could lead to the dissolution of all censorship and decency guidelines currently in use. Who can claim a right not to hear Howard Stern? Who can claim a right not to see Super Bowl boobies?

Posted by: David S at July 7, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #165452

womanmarine

When is the school day or year over? This is not a classroom, not a part of curriculum - when does the supervisory control end? It may be on school grounds - many things happen on school grounds after hours that have been found to be constitutional - prayer groups, bible study etc. My question still stands, who decides where “supposed” supervisory control begins and ends. When does it end? Are schools the only place it happens? Why schools and not government buildings or grounds? It’s silliness - one CAN be offended by what another says so long as it’s not religious? Silliness! If african americans or Jews are offended by the KKK or Neo Nazis’, get over it? Hear about a students beliefs, cover your ears and run screaming to the ACLU? I think it’s idiotic but the Supremes don’t! Why must we seek and destroy religious speech over and above hate speech? Which would be more palatable, Thank you Jesus - or - Die all you (insert whatever minority they claim to hate at that time)? Being constitutionally protected from hearing something you don’t agree with is ludicris. How about common sense, individual reasoning and good old freedom vs lawsuits? Nah, that wouldn’t be American.

Posted by: JR at July 7, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #165455

Does the valedictorian really represent the entire student body or even the school system in his/her speech? Back in my day (less than 10 years ago), we had the valedictory speech, then the student body president. Throw the guest speaker and school principal in the mix, and those were the speeches everyone forgot as soon as the ceremony was over.

In my view, the valedictorian represents nobody else but his/herself. Through the student’s own hard work, they have earned the spot to speak as the “smartest kid”, and not much more. The student body pres was the one selected by the students, thus the argument can be made that their speech represents the student body itself.
The principal obviously represents the school, and the guest represents themselves and whomever invited invited them, be it students or the administration.

In the end, the valedictorian only has his/her reputation on the line giving the speech. It’s at their own peril to say something controvertial or offensive as the “smart kid”.

Posted by: Greg at July 7, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #165457

David S

Protect hate speech! Criminalize religion!

Soon enough we won’t get a vote, we won’t have a say. The logical end of a stream of thought that protects one from hearing what you don’t want to hear/see/read due to personal or group offense is silence. If Christians who find pornography/secular humanism/Darwinism offensive have to get over it, turn the channel or ignore it - why can’t people who are frightened/offended/angered by religious speech get over it, turn the channel or ignore it? Where does this supervisory control end? When?

Posted by: JR at July 7, 2006 1:56 PM
Comment #165458

JR:

This is not a classroom, not a part of curriculum - when does the supervisory control end? It may be on school grounds

Graduation ceremonies IS PART OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. What part of the fact that it is school sponsored and part of the school year don’t you understand? It is the receiveing of their diplomas. Like I said, mail the dang things.

What is American is to recognize that there are limitations everywhere. Perhaps YOU need to get over it.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #165461

Greg:

In my view, the valedictorian represents nobody else but his/herself. Through the student’s own hard work, they have earned the spot to speak as the “smartest kid”, and not much more. The student body pres was the one selected by the students, thus the argument can be made that their speech represents the student body itself. The principal obviously represents the school, and the guest represents themselves and whomever invited invited them, be it students or the administration.

This doesn’t change the fact that it is a school sponsored event.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #165464

I agree with many of the points made here. In particular that if the speaker mentioned Mohammed, vishnu, some strange earth god etc there would be no problem with the speech. I also agree with the idea of a disclaimer that the speaker does not necessarily reflect the views of the school. I wonder what the school would do if the student said in their speech that they would like to expound on what things influenced them to become what they are but that censorship by the administration prevents them from mentioning these things. That if they were to even try to mention these things their diploma might be withheld and at a minumum the mike will be cut off.
Having said that I do not think the graduation podium is the place for a sermon and I can certainly inderstand that there can be abuses of this priviledge. But as for the cases at hand I don’t think that was the case and in my view it appears that the liberal thought police are ready to clamp down on any speech that differs with their own humanistic theology. What comes next? If a man is sharing his faith with another man in a public park would that be prohibited since it would be viewed as the state being in agreement with the faith of the man sharing since they allow it in the public place?
Do not be fooled on this topic. The liberal left led by their legal storm troopers, the ACLU, will grow in boldness each time they succed in restricting the free speech of those they disagree with.

Posted by: Carnak at July 7, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #165465
According to the courts…

Valedictorian can burn an American flag if outside. (That’s free speech).

Valedictorian should not mention God (Separation of Church & State)

Don,

Not surprisingly, you left out a few other relevant points.

A. Valedictorian can mention God if outside (and inside, for that matter, so long as valedictorian is not endorsing religion during government-sponsored speech).

B. Valedictorian can be prohibited from burning flag during graduation speech.

Your omission of these additional points makes me think that you either don’t really understand the law that well or you are trying to use half-truths to make a half-baked point.

Posted by: Homer at July 7, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #165467

Ahhh Las Vegas. Where whores are legal,
but talk of GOD/Jesus isn’t. What would
Mary Magdalene say? What happens in Vegas
stays in Vegas. Unless you’re a Christian.
Then it should stay in your mouth. Somehow
the Great Commission has ( thanks to the
Anti Christian Lawyers Union ) become the
great OMISSION.

Posted by: Dale G. at July 7, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #165468

Homer - I’m interested in hearing substatiation of your counterpoint “B”, where there would be no chance at a first ammendment violation.

Posted by: DOC at July 7, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #165469

Woman,

I’m not refuting that fact. I am talking specifically about who represents who when giving their soon-forgoten speech.

Schools sponsor all kinds of different events all the time. Does this mean that every single event of sponsorship should be screened for the use of “God” in its content? What if a teacher was showing a movie where there was a church scene, or someone said “God” somewhere in it? Should the administration pull the plug? What if a debate about religion broke out in a classroom where students were voicing their own beliefs in a civil exchange, say in a history class? What if a rabbi or priest came to speak to a class?

Where does it end? The smartest girl in her class decides to thank Jesus as her inspiration. What is the big deal, really? Its the end of high school, they are never returning, they never have to see eachother again. As long as she didn’t start condeming others or start making blatently offensive comments, let it slide. In the end, its the valedictory speech, not the school’s speech.

Posted by: Greg at July 7, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #165471
I agree with many of the points made here. In particular that if the speaker mentioned Mohammed, vishnu, some strange earth god etc there would be no problem with the speech.

Believe what you want, this just isn’t true. Not only that, but you all on the right know it as well as you know anything.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #165472
What comes next? If a man is sharing his faith with another man in a public park would that be prohibited since it would be viewed as the state being in agreement with the faith of the man sharing since they allow it in the public place?

Carnak,

Please take a moment to find out what the stormtroopers actually advocate before you spout off. It’s really pretty easy.

Posted by: Homer at July 7, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #165473

Greg:

But, the issue isn’t who represents who. The issue is that the school graduation is a part of the school year.

As for your second paragraph, if you don’t know the difference, it’s too late.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #165475

Woman,

Too late for what?

I’ll ask you, what is the difference?

Posted by: Greg at July 7, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #165479

I just want to take this opportunity to blame God for all the bad things that has ever happened to me. I now know that he never wanted me to live in the lavish life of luxury. The CEO’s are obviously God’s chosen people, and we need to do his bidding by eliminating all forms of taxation on them. We all know how noble the “trust fund baby” can be.

Furthermore, as a society, we need to remember that God is responsable for everything, so we should constantly mention him. After all, he made us in his image, so we know he is arrogant and insecure enough that he would need to be constantly reminded and re-assured of his greatness.

Hmmm…maybe fundamentalism is fundamentalism regardless of who or what you prey to.

Religion isn’t stupid or evil, but putting PEOPLE in charge of religion is. If you are confident in your maker, then shut up about it, because it makes you look unsure…like you are simply trying to convince yourself. And if rolling my eyes every time someone thanks god makes some omnipotent being feel insecure or bitter, then I think I’d be better off in Hell with the free thinkers.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 7, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #165481

Don,

The ACLU recognizes the school’s authority to impose reasonable regulatations on in-school expression. The school’s authority is even greater where, as here, the valedictory speech is “school-sponsored,” as opposed to being the open-ended free speech of just the student.

In the bigger picture, the courts have repeatedly recognized the government’s right to impose reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions on speech. For instance, I can yell “fire,” just not in a crowded theater. The schools can simply say that a school-sponsored valedictory speech is not the right time or place to either discuss political views or to light fires. For the same reason, a school can prevent the valedictorian from reading Mein Kampf to the crowd or, for that matter, from using his speech to offer an off-key rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Posted by: Homer at July 7, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #165492

Homer - Thanks for the detail, it makes sense and enhances your point. Though not specifically at graduation ceremonies, it’s been my experience that most off-key renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner are offered in public schools, but I do understand you to mean purposely off-key. Thanks again.

Posted by: DOC at July 7, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #165493

Blogthing,
you pay taxes to go to school

Not everybody does.

you get censored in school

I’ll tell you what… I’ll back off the hard-line dictionary definition of “censored” because that’s now how I think you mean it. I’ll accept what you are saying – that a student is not permitted to say whatever they want while in school. But I will continue to note that there is nothing illegal or even wrong about this, because no rights are violated. In fact, the courts have long held that it would violate the civil liberties of students to do otherwise – due to the concept of in loco parentis.

they are being deprived of their right to free speech.

No, they definitely are not. You do have the right to say what you want, but not wherever you want. That’s the catch.

If you would like to read the Constitution aloud, or proselytize, or burn a flag, or whatever you like on your own property, then you have the freedom to do so. It is your right to do so. Or, you can go do it in the town square.
But you may not do it in my house – and no right of yours is being violated. You may not do it in the principal’s office – and no right of yours is being violated. And the schools are within their rights to limit what may be said in a valedictory – every bit as much (as someone else noted) as your employer may do so in the workplace.

This is actually a very well documented legal matter, and to argue otherwise is ridiculous.

also, children ARE required to attend schools.

No, they are not. Mine don’t. And it’s not illegal.

Although I have a lot to say about public vs private too if you want to get into it.

I wouldn’t mind that at all. Do you have a blog of your own? It seems a bit off topic for this comment section.

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #165494

Regarding a valedictorian burning a flag during the speech, it would certainly violate fire ordinances, which usually state that fires are not permitted on school grounds for any reason. And that’s not a First Amendment issue.

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #165497

For instance, I can yell “fire,” just not in a crowded theater.

Unless of course there is a fire. :)

Posted by: Wulf at July 7, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #165500

JR-

There are a few basic problems with your point.

“If Christians who find pornography/secular humanism/Darwinism offensive have to get over it, turn the channel or ignore it - why can’t people who are frightened/offended/angered by religious speech get over it, turn the channel or ignore it? Where does this supervisory control end? When?”

Secular humanism and Darwinism are not religions, they are sciences. If poeple find facts and theories offensive, maybe they don’t really have a place in public discourse (the people, not the facts). I certainly don’t think pornography would be allowed at a graduation speech, and on the flip side no one complains about there being a Christian Bible Network. The whole point is that airwaves are one thing, school sponsored speech is another. If people can choose to not hear something spoken at a public event, than they can certainly choose to not hear something by changing the radio station.

Your questions as to whether or not a graduation ceremony is a school sponsored event is interesting, but I’m pretty sure any court of law would find that it is. It is the school district’s official graduation ceremony. When I graduated high school, there was a separate mass said at my church just for the graduates and their families the morning of the graduation ceremony. I was Catholic, as were most of the people I graduated with, but I’m sure there were similar observances at most of the denominations around town, and there probably are around most towns.

There is no “supervisory control” over religious speech over the airwaves. Nor is there “supervisory control” over religious speech in homes, private gatherings, and most any place where it is not being sponsored by the government. I think the ruling in this case goes too far, but I think most restrictions of speech placed on students go too far. Would you be up in arms about this if had been anything but Christian speech that was banned?

Posted by: David S at July 7, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #165519

The “right” to NOT be offended.
What a worthy cause.

Posted by: kctim at July 7, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #165525

Womanmarine
“Believe what you want, this just isn’t true. Not only that, but you all on the right know it as well as you know anything”

Are you sure about that?
The aclu sued LA County in 04 because it had a cross on it’s seal.
Do you know what was right below that cross?
A cow.
Ever hear of the word Guias

New Seal

Old Seal

Posted by: kctim at July 7, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #165528

kctim-

You’re intelligent enough to know that that’s a stretch. The cow is not on the seal as a religious symbol, the cross clearly was. Intent matters. Otherwise, we’d better get those 50 Pagan symbols off the US flag.

Posted by: David S at July 7, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #165549

1 Did the student establish a Church in her speech? No
2 All she mentioned was a person who she most admired and who she felt got her through school.
In todays school system kids need all the help they can get whatever God they believe in (notice I said whatever God).

Posted by: Rich at July 7, 2006 6:35 PM
Comment #165555

kctim,

I think you missed the Jesus fish on the new seal here.

Posted by: bushflipflops at July 7, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #165557

Rich-
The establishment clause deals with state advocacy of a religion. This was a point of contention for governments because everybody would want it to be their religion that’s advocated over somebody else’s. Since logically speaking, you can’t advocate all religions at once and be fair, you simply back off from the issue of religion entirely. Some Christians take this personally. They shouldn’t. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that we’re Christian. The state is simply not allowed to take positive or negative steps to interfere with the freedom of religious expression.

As a Catholic, I would not want my future hypothetical children indoctrinated by in Methodist, Baptist, or Episcopal church traditions by my public school. This might happen if schoolteachers and priniciples are allowed to proselytize to my children. Do you want your children, whom you have placed in their care, taught in a religion you don’t support. I would rather no religious activity go on in a public school, than to have everybody fighting over this question.

And in the end, that’s why we have the establishment clause: If nobody can advocate religion in public schools, in the courts, or in the halls fo the legislature, there can’t be all that much of a fight over whose religion makes policy, now can there be?

The Founding Fathers purposefully dodged the question and let people answer the questions of spirituality for themselves.

Public school students are not being indoctrinated in Secular Humanism, but in whatever religion their parents choose.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 7, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #165561

I hate that people are focusing on the religion aspect when really, what needs to be taken into context is… its a graduation speech. Nobody listens to them anyway, they have minimal impact and are not coming from an authority figure. There is almost no call for any censorship at all, outside of lude or intentionally inflammatory remarks.

Posted by: Xander Jones at July 7, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #165564

Xander:

But, that would be censorship!!

ROFL

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #165573

Matt:

It was right for the valedictorian in the first example to be slapped down, but I do not see anything wrong with the speech of the second valedictorian.

I referred back to your reference. McComb was proselytizing, not merely expressing where she got her strength from. No public body should allow proselytizing. I am offended by proselytizing: it’s an imposition. I am sure there were many in the audience that felt the same way.

The other valedictorian was expressing an opinion about the school. The school should welcome it. So should the audience. In this case, it does not matter if religion played a role.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 7, 2006 7:32 PM
Comment #165574

Stephen
When I said the student didn’t establish a church in her speech I meant it as a pun. When she mentioned Jesus Christ he was the person who she most admired and helped her get through school. She did not advocate any specific religion. And by the way I was raised Catholic and Jesus is the same in the Catholic Faith as he is in the baptist,methodist,luthren, presbitirian faiths. I just get sick and tired of people pushing the separation of church and state thing everytime someone mentions Jesus, God, or expresses their religious beliefs in the public arena. I don’t advocate jamming anyones religion down someones throat or prostilizing. Just to mention your faith is neither of the above.

Posted by: Rich at July 7, 2006 7:32 PM
Comment #165584

I am not disturbed by these events. I went to high school in the seventies. We never expected to have complete freedom i high school. We did not choose what we could write with complete freedom in the school newspaper, posters or speeches. It is a life lesson that not everyone will agree with you or support whatever radical thing you wish to say. School is not an object lesson in complete irresponsiblity or lack of consequence.

Teenagers in my highschool had limits on what they wore, who they dated, and what time they had to be home.

College was the time for joining radical organizations, if you were so inclined. However even then, most kids parents paid for their children’s educations and most kids still lived at their parents house. Most still did not have complete freedom.


Many of you may have had radically different lifesyles. I always saw freedom as something money could buy you in a free society. You could be radical if you had the means to support yourself independently, since you would likely incur the hatred and avoidance of many. Somehow that lesson seems to be lost here.

Posted by: gergle at July 7, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #165622

When you mention Jesus, and talk about the influence in your life, you are making a testimonial and are seeking converts by that example. And yes, Christianity IS a specific religion.

Christ is the same in many faiths, but the worship of him can differ greatly, and the people who hold those beliefs with them. Some Baptists around where I live claimed that Catholics weren’t really Christians, and they worshipped Mary and the Saints as if they were Gods and Goddesses themselves.

Would I want such people attempting to teach my children religion? No. Likely, they would not want the same either. So? We agree to a truce. We teach our own children and allow the Public school system to teach everything else.

Personally, I try and be respectful of the religions of others. I came to God by a personal path, guided by grace, not forced by man to become a more spiritual person. Since I wasn’t pressured to become what I am, I feel no need to pressure anybody else. I enjoy the opportunity to share that grace that touched me with others, but I try and find a point at which somebody’s defenses aren’t raised, where they’re open to things. I don’t try to batter someone into submission to me. That’s not the point. I’m not the person these people should bow to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 7, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #165635

Stephen
The mention of a few bible verses and Jesus is hardly forcing religion on someone. The point I’m trying to get across is there has to be a point where the excessive use of separation of church and state has to stop. I’m pretty sure if the girl was moslem and said praise allah nothing would have been said or mic’s turned off.Moslem being used ONLY AS AN EXAMPLE!!! I feel people think Jesus is a dirty word. And yes some people do get carried away professing their religion and I don’t condone that. Yes when you mention Jesus and tell people what he has done in their life is a testimony, but they are only doing what Jesus commanded them to do in the last two verses in the Gospel of Matthew. If they get to be excessive yes cut them off I’ve done it.

Posted by: Rich at July 7, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #165651

Schools have allowed students to take off of classroom activity to support homosexual marriage and their beliefs. Those same school administrators are the ones who will trample on a valedictorian who found that Jesus Christ is part of her personal relationship. Proselytizing is not part of the picture. She was only relating, in a few minutes, how she came to this honorable point in her life. If she would have thanked the local pedophile for her reaching this point in time in her life, we would have never heard of it. Proselytizing is a crutch for those who oppose the valdictorian’s belief structure. You are not going to convert anybody to anything when you have spent a few years with those same students. She was only abiding in her belief that Jesus Christ is the most important figure in her life. I applaud her for standing tall in the face of abject phonies.

Posted by: tomh at July 7, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #165657

tomh
AMEN

Posted by: Rich at July 7, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #165667
Criminalize religion!

Count me IN!!

So many evangelists, so few lions. =(

Posted by: Taylor at July 7, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #165670
The point I’m trying to get across is there has to be a point where the excessive use of separation of church and state has to stop. I’m pretty sure if the girl was moslem and said praise allah nothing would have been said or mic’s turned off.

What a load of BS! You know damn well it would not be allowed, and are only exaggerating to make an inaccurate point.

And on top of that, if it were a non-christian religion being touted on stage, every last one of you conservatives would pull a 180 and have a brain aneurism trying to stop the injustice.

You’ll accept your majority christian faith, denegrate the others, and do so on the word of a few cheerleaders who wrote scribblings 2-3000 years ago to promote a “truth” they wanted to believe, which no other significant historians of the time mention. These same scribblings get translated, transcribed, and interpreted several hundred times over, infused with pagan influences and holidays across all of eastern, central and western europe. Then you’ll live your life by it, trash anyone who doesn’t, and wait for the next thread on global warming or the Bush administration’s lies so you can sound intelligent building an arguement that there’s no proof?

Conconservatism: the double double standard.

Go chew your gum.

Posted by: Taylor at July 7, 2006 11:46 PM
Comment #165682

Stephen D.,

While I respect your representation in regards to your religious tolerance, I do not see a problem with a student commenting about their faith. I can honestly say that I would not care if it was a christian student, a muslim student, or a hindu student. A simple affirmation of faith is not proselytizing in my book.

“I’d like to give a big shout out to my Father, who art in Heaven…”

- or -

From a student at the Berklee College of Music:

“I’d like to give a big should out to my main man, my inspiration: Quincy Jones”

One man’s religion… yada yada yada

Posted by: Bruce at July 8, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #165706

I guess if we were to move to a voucher system for schools this would be less of an issue…. or would the left then claim that if tax funded vouchers were used to attend church run schools that the name of Jesus could no longer be mentioned in those schools?

Posted by: Carnak at July 8, 2006 2:50 AM
Comment #165765

I think you missed the Jesus fish on the new seal here.

Posted by: bushflipflops at July 7, 2006 06:53 PM

Hey, no problem. If the goal is to get rid of any and all references to religion, then we should be consistent. Not just pick the ones who we think are a pain in the ass.

BTW: You seen the “evolution” fish? Now that is funny!

Posted by: kctim at July 8, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #165951

What of the government’s practice on Quantanamo Bay with the prisoners there. the government supplied korans and prayer rugs to the people there. isn’t that government advocation of a particular religion even the promotion and sponsership of one? those rugs and korans were paid for by our tax dollars. our tax dollar even pays a salary to the religious leader there. and that religion is a far more particular one than Christianity.

Posted by: The Griper at July 8, 2006 6:56 PM
Comment #166016

As one of the rarest creatures on the planet, a Pagan (Wiccan) Republican, I’ll give you my two cents…I have no problem with the valedictorian honoring the faith that led her to that point in her life. I do not get offended by someone testifying— unless they try to shove their beliefs down my throat, as someone mentioned above. I DO have a problem when my daughter comes home from school telling me about Jesus and how he died to save people and all about angels. How is this possible? The one big exception to the “No religion in school” law— music class. I DO have a problem when I hear about teachers who force the whole class to ‘become Muslim’ and do the whole facing Mecca prayers, dessing the part (girls in scarves/veils and all). I DO have a problem with teachers using the captive audience to put forward their own private agenda— religious or political. I see this as two very different things. The girl’s speech thanking her savior— c’mon! Commen sense— its HER personal view and not in any way -from- the school. When teachers do it in class— thats wrong. The other young man’s case is even more obvious. Just because the school disagrees with what he said, he doesn’t mean shouldn’t still have the right to say it. You folks are using the whole “school sponsored” thing as an excuse. A technicality. Semantics. The school is in no way telling her what to say, is in no way saying ‘this is what we think you should all think.’ Ths school is not advocating one religion— The girl is giving her view. I may not agree with her choice of religion, but it is her choice, and I stand by her right to speak her mind.

Posted by: chimera at July 8, 2006 9:44 PM
Comment #166062

Chimera-
It isn’t semantics, it’s the law. An institution could create a bias by passively allowing some to speak of their religion, while preventing others from doing the same.

Griper-
We’re not converting the inmates of Gitmo to Islam, we’re merely providing them with what they need to practice their faith. A Christian would have a right to a bible, most likely, and whatever else they needed. This is a basic human rights question, not one of establishing a religion.

Bruce, Rich, tomh-
The Girl was speaking at a school function on behalf of the school. They were not going to require her to denounce God in her speech. The address she was giving was reviewed by the school officials, making them responsible for the content under the school’s policies. This was not an open forum for her to air any and all of her views. If she decided to read a list of people she hates and what misfortune she hopes would happen to them later in life, or make a speech on behalf of a political candidate, she could be cut off there, too.

She is not free to say anything she wants in the first place, so arguing she could make a speech whose content might call into question the religious neutrality of the public school she was speaking on behalf of is like arguing that school officials should need a warrant to search a locker, or should let students carry guns to class. A school is expected to act in the place of the parents, but not in replacement of them on matters of religion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2006 9:09 AM
Comment #166263

Taylor,

why criminalize religion and throw Christians
to the lions? Not when you’ve got modern
concentration camps and gas furnaces. Oh wait.
Hitler already tried that. Hmmm. Seems Taylor
and other religion hating facists have something
in common with Der Furher!

Posted by: Dale G. at July 10, 2006 2:38 AM
Comment #166570

It is absolutely wrong to censor a students personal comments when that student is speaking of his or her personal values or conviction. I recently attended my neices graduation and the priciple had prayer at the beginning and then end of the ceremony and the prayers were prayed by students. Yes, it was a public school. The only people who are upset about the use of the name of Jesus are the ones who don’t know him.
Topchef(rodney)

Posted by: topchef(rodney) at July 11, 2006 2:20 PM
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