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Valedictorian's speech cut short by school district

A local high school graduation ended with roars of protest after school officials turned the microphone off right in the middle of one of the valedictorian's speeches. The microphone cut out after the valedictorian at Foothill High made reference to God.

MSNBC

I would like to congradulate this girl for persevering in the face of censorship and the infringement on her Constitutional rights. Somebody needs to stand up to the kook-secular left. Ann Coulter was right to describe these people as Godless. Bravo Brittney McComb! :)

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Valedictorian's speech cut short by school district

A local high school graduation ended with roars of protest after school officials turned the microphone off right in the middle of one of the valedictorian's speeches. The microphone cut out after the valedictorian at Foothill High made reference to God.

MSNBC

I would like to congradulate this girl for persevering in the face of censorship and the infringement on her Constitutional rights. Somebody needs to stand up to the kook-secular left. Ann Coulter was right to describe these people as Godless. Bravo Brittney McComb! :)

:rolleyes:

Other Constitutional Rights lil Brittney could have done - brandished a rifle in her warm, alive hand

- referenced Allah

- took off her top

Freedoms are everywhere, but she as a validictorian should not be using the microphone to express personal religious beliefs...she is representing her entire class, not just herself.

You shouldn't be so protective over your religion. Just believe what you want and don't force others to listen to your references...unless of course you are cool with other people with special interests invading your ears with their beliefs.

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I would like to congradulate this girl for persevering in the face of censorship and the infringement on her Constitutional rights. Somebody needs to stand up to the kook-secular left. Ann Coulter was right to describe these people as Godless. Bravo Brittney McComb! :)
Some how I don't think you would defend the right of a student to give a valedictorian address ranting about US imperialism and comparing George Bush to Hitler. If you are not willing to defend all free speech in these speeches then you cannot complain about God being censored.

Furthermore, nobody is preventing this student from expressing her views elsewhere - they are just saying that if she wants to have the _privilege_ of addressing the student body as a valedictorian then she must conform to certain guidelines.

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She should be allowed to mention God, of course. If the school was anticipating that this speech was going to spoil the ceremony (ie. too heavy-handed, too controversial etc.) then they should have taken the opportunity to discuss it with the girl beforehand. They had a chance to do that, but it appears that they didn't do it.

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Other Constitutional Rights lil Brittney could have done - brandished a rifle in her warm, alive hand

- referenced Allah

- took off her top

Freedoms are everywhere, but she as a validictorian should not be using the microphone to express personal religious beliefs...she is representing her entire class, not just herself.

You shouldn't be so protective over your religion. Just believe what you want and don't force others to listen to your references...unless of course you are cool with other people with special interests invading your ears with their beliefs.

Only a raving atheistic nutjob would take offense at a positive religious reference in a public speech, regardless of the religious persuasion. The irony of this situation is that if she'd made statements pertaining to her own atheism and her belief in the the non-existence of God (an equally, if opposite, religious sentiment) she probably would have been left alone. Free speech rights are limited only by the prospect that public harm might result. Saying "God bless this graduating class" or whatever harms no one, not even the God-haters.

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She should be allowed to mention God, of course. If the school was anticipating that this speech was going to spoil the ceremony (ie. too heavy-handed, too controversial etc.) then they should have taken the opportunity to discuss it with the girl beforehand. They had a chance to do that, but it appears that they didn't do it.
The district reviewed her speech and told her that her speech did not meet the guidelines because it was made references to Christianity. If she had simply mentioned God it would have been fine.
McComb says the district reviewed her speech beforehand, just like everyone else. But she says they sent it back with the last half chopped off.

"They said it was offensive, it identifies a particular religion,"

McComb went on and gave her speech even though the district told her she couldn't and had the mic cut off. This is normal procedure if someone does not stick to the script approved by the district.

IMO the district has a right to limits the topics covered by valedictorian speeches. Graduations are formal occasions and should not be used a soap boxes for someone to push a particular political or religious agenda. McComb has many other opportunities to express her views so she cannot claim a right to free speech.

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Other Constitutional Rights lil Brittney could have done
brandished a rifle in her warm, alive hand
Actually, I think it's against the law to bring firearms into the Auditorium.
took off her top
Sorry, once again, against the law. Public nudity is not a Consitutional Right.
referenced Allah
Strike three. Not according to the unconstitutional "guidelines" set up by the school officials.

You're out. Go grab some bench.

Some how I don't think you would defend the right of a student to give a valedictorian address ranting about US imperialism and comparing George Bush to Hitler
It's been done. Many times.

Official Apologizes For Saying Bush Should Be Shot Between Eyes

NEW YORK -- State Comptroller Alan Hevesi publicly apologized Thursday for a "beyond dumb" remark about a fellow Democrat putting "a bullet between the president's eyes."

Hevesi called a mea culpa press conference hours after putting his foot in his mouth at the Queens College commencement.

WNBC

she must conform to certain guidelines
Not if the "guidelines" are unconstitutional. They must conform to the Constitution.
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she must conform to certain guidelines
Not if the "guidelines" are unconstitutional. They must conform to the Constitution.

The constitution gives you the right to free speech but that does not give you the right to walk into the oval office and scream at the president. Free speech has never meant 'anything I want to say, anywhere I want to say it and anytime I want to say it.' The district can and should limit speech to topics which are suitable for the occasion. For the record: I would expect the district to reject a anti-Bush tirade for the same reasons.
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She knew the rules beforehand and disregarded them. The school district told her what was acceptible and what was not acceptible in a valedictory speech. She decided to go down the route of the unacceptible. All speakers were told they'd be shut down if they veered off their scripted speeches. She veered, they unplugged as promised. Religion, along with politics, is a very polarizing issue and I can see why the school committee would not want someone up there advocating a particular religious faith or advancing a particular political viewpoint (whether liberal or conservative). Would all of you be so up in arms if she was a young Muslim girl who mentioned the virtue of being a martyr for one's faith?

She should take responsibility for her actions.

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Some how I don't think you would defend the right of a student to give a valedictorian address ranting about US imperialism and comparing George Bush to Hitler. If you are not willing to defend all free speech in these speeches then you cannot complain about God being censored.

Strawman alert! Where's BD?

Putting words into someone else's mouth and then arguing against their non-existent statement is poor form.

Furthermore, nobody is preventing this student from expressing her views elsewhere - they are just saying that if she wants to have the _privilege_ of addressing the student body as a valedictorian then she must conform to certain guidelines.

If those guidelines included manditory statements of religious neutrality that the girl couldn't utter in good conscience, would you still be in favour of forcing her to follow them? Isn't editing text out the same as editing text in?

My reading of this story is that the powers that be in the school system made an arbitrary judgement call about what was acceptable, based on their own sense of ethics. (Ironic, no?) There didn't seem to be hard and fast rules in play about what wording could and couldn't be used.

When I was a wee lad we were made to say The Lord's Prayer every morning, and I'm sure the people who went to this school were made to follow a similar morning exercises in the past. I'm certain that past valedictorians must have made at least passing references to God in their speeches without having big hunks of their written material excised. Such things used to be common.

It's since been decided that forcing children to recite religious pledges is wrong. Fine, and I agree. But isn't forcing children to not make religious declarations equally wrong? If not, why?

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Dear BHS,

It's since been decided that forcing children to recite religious pledges is wrong. Fine, and I agree. But isn't forcing children to not make religious declarations equally wrong? If not, why?
It seems to me (and I could be wrong, I was a poor student) that the 'valedictorian speech' is not supposed to be about the individual, but a representation on behalf of the whole graduating class. I should think the freedoms of religious expression should be there if the speaker was speaking only for themselves, (such as winning 'top student award', or making the Dean's List) but it is my impression that all students are represented by that speech.
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Ann Coulter was right to describe these people as Godless.

I think your post may have had merit until you brought her up. Ann Coulter has never opened her mouth or typed a sentence and been right at the same time, in her entire life.

This is a woman who said Canadians went to Vietnam and continued to try and pound that square peg into the round hole no matter how much the Canadian journalist (who was a journalist during those years as well) tried politely to inform her of her mistake.

Interviewer: "No, Canadians never went to Vietnam."

Ann: "Oh I'm pretty sure they did...".

LOL! There's really no arguing with people like this and both the Left and the Right are full of them. Obviously she knows she's wrong at this point and just refuses to admit it....you know, with her "superior intellect" and all.

.

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The school board obviously overstepped their bounds. They gave her some broad guidelines as to why mentioning God was inappropriate, but failed to mention they'd shut her mic off if she strayed. However, I think by the sounds of it they forewarned the sound tech to shut it off if she wandered.

But it doesn't sound out of line for the education system down there. Remember 9/11, when many universities felt it 'inappropriate' to fly their own flag(U.S.) in the days after in case it might offend some of their foreign students. Political Correctness is just another form of censorship. Mentioning God when it's on American money and embedded in their constitution is not unreasonable.

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I think your post may have had merit until you brought her up. Ann Coulter has never opened her mouth or typed a sentence and been right at the same time, in her entire life.

This is a woman who said Canadians went to Vietnam and continued to try and pound that square peg into the round hole no matter how much the Canadian journalist (who was a journalist during those years as well) tried politely to inform her of her mistake.

Interviewer: "No, Canadians never went to Vietnam."

Ann: "Oh I'm pretty sure they did...".

LOL! There's really no arguing with people like this and both the Left and the Right are full of them. Obviously she knows she's wrong at this point and just refuses to admit it....you know, with her "superior intellect" and all.

Excellent Post. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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If those guidelines included mandatory statements of religious neutrality that the girl couldn't utter in good conscience, would you still be in favour of forcing her to follow them? Isn't editing text out the same as editing text in?
Not at all. Asking someone to say nothing about a particular topic is not the same as forcing them to say something they don't believe in.
My reading of this story is that the powers that be in the school system made an arbitrary judgement call about what was acceptable, based on their own sense of ethics. (Ironic, no?) There didn't seem to be hard and fast rules in play about what wording could and couldn't be used.
The school board's decisions were not based on whether they thought the topic was right or wrong. It was based on whether they felt the topic would polarize the student body. The valedictorian speech is supposed to be a positive and celebratory - sermons about Jesus do not fall into that category when there are non-Christians in the audience.
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I think your post may have had merit until you brought her up. Ann Coulter has never opened her mouth or typed a sentence and been right at the same time, in her entire life.

This is a woman who said Canadians went to Vietnam and continued to try and pound that square peg into the round hole no matter how much the Canadian journalist (who was a journalist during those years as well) tried politely to inform her of her mistake.

Interviewer: "No, Canadians never went to Vietnam."

Ann: "Oh I'm pretty sure they did...".

LOL! There's really no arguing with people like this and both the Left and the Right are full of them. Obviously she knows she's wrong at this point and just refuses to admit it....you know, with her "superior intellect" and all.

Excellent Post. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Yay! You both hate Ann Coulter. Good for you. Moving on...

The phrase "Canadians never went to Vietnam" is incorrect because it implies that no one with Canadian citizenship joined the American armed forces for the express purpose of going to Vietnam. This is probably not what Coulter meant, but stating pointedly that Canadians did not go to Vietnam is factually off the mark.

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The phrase "Canadians never went to Vietnam" is incorrect because it implies that no one with Canadian citizenship joined the American armed forces for the express purpose of going to Vietnam. This is probably not what Coulter meant, but stating pointedly that Canadians did not go to Vietnam is factually off the mark.

Nope. Sorry. You sound like she does when she squirms. No, her context was "why didn't Canada come to Iraq? They went with us to Vietnam", and the context most certainly was in an official manner - i.e; The Canadian Forces. I saw her argue the point and you could see in herr eyes she didn't really know one way or another, she just decided she didn't like her interviewer contradicting her so she tried to bluff the rest of the way. She's a dolt. End of story.

Trust me that was the context. If you really need me to prove it I can dig up the link later.

.

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Not at all. Asking someone to say nothing about a particular topic is not the same as forcing them to say something they don't believe in.

It seems to me that you're being sly with your phrasing. You are correct that asking and forcing are not the same thing. But the school board didn't ask. They told. They edited text to remove passages they found offence, based on their ad lib criteria, and informed the student that only what was left was acceptable speech. And when she refused to follow their direction they silenced her.

The school board's decisions were not based on whether they thought the topic was right or wrong. It was based on whether they felt the topic would polarize the student body. The valedictorian speech is supposed to be a positive and celebratory - sermons about Jesus do not fall into that category when there are non-Christians in the audience.

So, if the valedictorian was a music major bound for a music program at college, she would have to forego talking about her love of music because there might be non-musicians in the audience? Does this not fit with your logic?

No? Okay, let's extend the analogy, and say that there had been a squabble over funding between the sports and music departments that the music department had won, such that there was genuine animosity between the jocks and the band camp types. Would it be okay for her to talk about her musical experiences in that case? Are we really talking about avoid polarization, or are we talking about authorities taking steps to actuallize their misguided take on the seperation of church and state?

There's nothing in the article to indicate that anyone was actually offended by her speech, such as it was. There's no indication that anything she intended to say was anything but positive and generally agreeable, even to non-Christians. In fact, the audience responded angrily when she was cut short.

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Nope. Sorry. You sound like she does when she squirms. No, her context was "why didn't Canada come to Iraq? They went with us to Vietnam", and the context most certainly was in an official manner - i.e; The Canadian Forces. I saw her argue the point and you could see in herr eyes she didn't really know one way or another, she just decided she didn't like her interviewer contradicting her so she tried to bluff the rest of the way. She's a dolt. End of story.

Trust me that was the context. If you really need me to prove it I can dig up the link later.

.

I don't disagree. I'm not defending her. In fact, if you reread the portion of my post that you quoted I specifically said "this is probably not what Coulter meant". So I don't really get the point of your reply, other than to take a shot at me. You certainly didn't bother with the actual point I was making.

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Well what can I say BHS? There were a grand total of 2 posts you quoted and in neither of them did anyone express hate for our bag of coat hangers we call Ann...but that didn't stop your smart ass shot:

Yay! You both hate Ann Coulter. Good for you. Moving on...

What was that all about? I said something about A.C. and someone agreed with me and I don't think it’s unreasonable to call what you said in return a 'shot' or certainly smart-alecky-ness.

You can't dish it, then get it in return, then whine about getting it.

and...

So I don't really get the point of your reply, other than to take a shot at me. You certainly didn't bother with the actual point I was making.

As far as I could tell you didn't have a point....besides maybe the one at the top of your head. Maybe if ya posted fewer smart-ass remarks towards comments that were never directed towards you in the first place then people will listen to you more.

If there's one thing I disrespect on forums it's people who take shots then act like they're "too mature" to take shots.

.

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As far as I could tell you didn't have a point....besides maybe the one at the top of your head. Maybe if ya posted fewer smart-ass remarks towards comments that were never directed towards you in the first place then people will listen to you more.

If there's one thing I disrespect on forums it's people who take shots then act like they're "too mature" to take shots.

My point is, that in the portion of the conversation that was included in your post the interviewer's statement was technically not correct as it was worded, and therefore Ann Coulter's reply, within that context, was in fact correct.

Perhaps hate is too strong a word. You clearly dislike Ann Coulter. There isn't much to like. My apologies for the affect that my too-strongly worded estimate of your feeling had on your self-esteem. But so far I haven't directly attacked you personally, as you have me. I can take it.

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Your presumption that my feelings or self-esteem were hurt is ill-placed, but if it makes you feel better to believe they have been then all the power to you. I can forget and move on if you can (well I can even if you can't actually).

You clearly dislike Ann Coulter.

Of course that's a relative statement. I dislike Ann compared to whom? If there was a list I suppose she's on it, but I hardly think that two or three mild posts on the subject of Ann qualifies as some kind of unreasonable fixation with her. Of course you're free to judge that (and others) for yourself. Seems to me that if your point wasa simply about what the interviewer said then you should've restricted your point to that instead of starting it with this:

Yay! You both hate Ann Coulter. Good for you. Moving on...

Which is clearly an unnessesary smart-ass statement if your only point was what the interviewer said...especially when there were only 2 posts (barely) that you were responding to. Your sacasim was as clear as it was unnecessary. It is a 'personal attack'. A rather childish one that now you pretend never happend or seem to expect you won't get a response to. If you're going to throw those out you're going to get them back. Not much point in pretending you're above it after the fact.

.

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Of course that's a relative statement. I dislike Ann compared to whom? If there was a list I suppose she's on it, but I hardly think that two or three mild posts on the subject of Ann qualifies as some kind of unreasonable fixation with her. Of course you're free to judge that (and others) for yourself. Seems to me that if your point wasa simply about what the interviewer said then you should've restricted your point to that instead of starting it with this:
Yay! You both hate Ann Coulter. Good for you. Moving on...

Dislike isn't relative. If I say I dislike liver it's not because I prefer steak, it's because I can't stand the taste of liver. There's no relative component to the concept.

As for the rest of your, um, critique, I'll say this - I won't make the mistake of faking enthusiasm over any of your proclivities anymore. My smart ass is getting sore, for no good reason.

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Here is the interview:

Coulter: "Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends and vice-versa. I mean Canada sent troops to Vietnam - was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?"

McKeown interrupts: "Canada didn't send troops to Vietnam."

Coulter: "I don't think that's right."

McKeown: "Canada did not send troops to Vietnam."

Coulter (looking desperate): "Indochina?"

McKeown: "Uh no. Canada ...second World War of course. Korea. Yes. Vietnam No."

Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

McKeown: "No, took a pass on Vietnam."

Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

McKeown: "No, Australia was there, not Canada."

Coulter: "I think Canada sent troops."

McKeown: "No."

Coulter: "Well. I'll get back to you on that."

Coulter is clearly wrong. I don't hate her for being wrong, but she is still wrong nevertheless.

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