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May 2018
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Aerden [userpic]
Outrage of the Week - Valedictorian's Speech Cut Off

Brittany McComb, valedictorian at Foothill High School near Las Vegas, was the subject of school censorship when the mike was turned off during her graduation address because she was mentioning God.

My initial reaction to this was to be pretty annoyed at the school. Upon learning more about her speech, I see that McComb gave more than just a passing reference to her religion. I now find myself agreeing with the school--to a certain extent.

I agree that talking about the crucifixion , especially in detail, and inserting numerous Biblical references into the speech was going a little too far on Brittany's part. But I also think the school could have negotiated with her more and treated her like the adult she is about to become, instead of treating her like a child whose views are to be squashed because they aren't politically correct. A school is supposed to teach, not crush students' intellects under its bootheel.

I think, if the school had been willing to bend a little in its vetting process, Brittany might have been willing to bend a little about the content of her speech, and possibly her parents could have advised her and discussed this with her. Had I been her mother, I know I would have. I would have told her that I fully supported her wish to describe how God/Christ was her inspiration to work hard, but I would have told her to be subtle about it.

Basically, I think this situation was handled in such a way that the school looks bad, and the whole truth might not be commonly known, because it will be touted in the media as 'School Prevents Valedictorian from Mentioning God,' and headlines like that may be all most people will ever know of the matter. It is a little more complex than that.'

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

Usually my stance on this kind of thing is, "Keep religion away from me unless I ask for it!" but only in reference to evangelists and people who want to pass laws based on religious edicts, blah blah blah. For a student to be chastised for speaking about something that means a great deal to her and has been a driving influence in her success seems to me to be treading on her rights. I agree with you--students don't need to be crushed, and schools certainly need to teach, not manhandle as they did this girl. Maybe she went a little too far and got too graphic--I mean, I wouldn't want to hear something explict in a speech, and the bible, not to mention the crucifixion, can be very explicit!--but to tell her no, you're not allowed to show your beliefs when you're in public, you can speak of ANY OTHER INSPIRATION BUT GOD--that's horrible, not to mention illegal, though most people won't see it that way. Separation of church and state was NEVER meant to be about suppression of belief. :/

And the OTHER thing this does is add to the whole "Christianity is UNDER ATTACK" movement. I'd really rather people didn't add fuel to that fire.

Re: $.02

The school claims that it doesn't mind passing references to God, but it doesn't want what it considers full-scale evangelism taking place on its podium during its graduations.

I'm looking for a copy of the speech, so I might have some idea of exactly what Brittany was wanting to say. I really can't judge whether she was proselytizing until I know that. She does not feel that she was proselytizing or attempting to. It would be interesting to know enough to make my own decision.


I only just heard about this a couple of days ago.

In a way, I think she had every right to say what she believed and tell people that God was her inspiration. As long as it wasn't offensive to people, then it should have been fine. She was not representing the school, per se, she was representing herself and her thoughts.

Perhaps the wording was the problem (although I haven't read what was actually said). Talking about how much she loved God would have been fine - telling people they were going to go to hell would have been going way too far.

Th lesson to be learned form this, I think, is not to be overly sensitive about religion. Religion is a big part of some people's lives. I don't mind hearing how a person has been affected and shaped by the religion they follow. I draw the line at it being forced on me (by which I mean someone telling me flatly my opinions are wrong and the way I live my life is wrong). But the school, in cutting her off, was not only being disrespectful to Brittany, they were also being disrespectful to the other students. A school's job is to teach, as you have said, not to shield students from the reality of the world - where they will often come across opinions they might not agree with. The school was treating all the students as children by assuming they were not adult enough to dismiss or accept the views of another.