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The story about the valedictorian who went off script and brought abortion rights/freedoms into her speech and now this one about the guy who wore the Mexican flag has me questioning (again) why students do this.

I have been valedictorian and considered it the highest honor which I did not take lightly. I met with my advisors regarding my speech and, despite having social issues about which I am passionate, it never occurred to me to go off script. Never. I was representing the school and the student body, not my own self, and my speech content reflected that. So I don't understand the students who use this honor in such a way.

The flag thing confuses me. If the kid's parents left Mexico and came to the U.S. to give him a better future, wouldn't wearing the U.S. flag make more sense? The opportunity was here, not in Mexico. Also, he was given, along with the other students, a chance to personalize his graduation via the mortarboard with the exception of no flags. When the guy broke the rules, he accused the school, etc. of doing wrong.

What am I missing, here?? Why should anyone save for the student apologize?? The rules are in place for a reason. If the student did not like that, then why walk at all? Why "flip off" the school his parents made the effort to get him into in the first place and then declare that he did nothing wrong, that it's the school's fault?

I also don't understand why such incidents cause "outrage" in favor of the student flaunting and taunting (as it seems to me, personally) the rules/guidelines.





 

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I agree that the students shouldn't intentionally break the rules, but I don't think they are trying to hurt the school or their parents.  I think they realize they have a way to express themselves and want to take advantage of that opportunity. Or maybe it's a form of civil disobedience.  That's just my opinion, though.

I was surprised that our high school allowed my ds (valedictorian) to talk about Mark Twain's quote, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."  If they hadn't, he would have spoken about something else or not spoken at all.  

 

 

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Regarding the flag incident, FWIW -- A local media outlet is reporting that "Many viewers have reached out to tell FOX8 about this situation, saying that other students also had similarly decorated their regalia and were not punished."

I'm unclear on what that means, if people are saying that other students had things draped over their gowns or had decorated their gowns in some way, or if they're conflating decorating the mortarboards with what the flag draped student did. I wish the media would clarify.

Another local media outlet is reporting this -- "A parent shared a message sent on Canvas, a learning management system, that instructed the students to dress up for the event, adding "sandals or tennis shoes are not dress shoes and are inappropriate." Instructions regarding regalia were not included in that particular message."

So there at least seems to be a small amount of confusion.

In general I'm a follow-the-rules type. I generally dislike it when people (students, parents, other guests) do anything to call attention to themselves at a graduation ceremony. So my instinct is to judge the young man harshly. But I'm trying to reserve judgment unless/until things are clarified.

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I appreciate when there are some rules for ceremonies that keep the biggest personalities from taking over.  I think the boy could've put a flag on his cap in honor of his heritage.

The girl seemed to be following her conscience regarding something timely.

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I agree with Kassia that they're just trying to find a way to express themselves.   I don't know what high school is like now, but mine was like a prison.   I can understand the desire to finally speak out and be themselves after escaping that.  
 

All that said, I'm glad I didn't have access to a microphone (or social media) at age 18.    There's no telling what I would've said.  🤦🏻‍♀️

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Just now, WildflowerMom said:

I agree with Kassia that they're just trying to find a way to express themselves.   I don't know what high school is like now, but mine was like a prison.   I can understand the desire to finally speak out and be themselves after escaping that.  
 

All that said, I'm glad I didn't have access to a microphone (or social media) at age 18.    There's no telling what I would've said.  🤦🏻‍♀️

Yes! High schools seem so extremely controlling today (and they weren’t that great when I was in them either), so I can totally understand trying to finally show them who you really are. I really don’t like how that control has turned into keeping students from actually getting a diploma and graduating for these types of things. I feel it’s a huge overstep and it might even be why these things keep happening. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Joker2 said:

Yes! High schools seem so extremely controlling today (and they weren’t that great when I was in them either), so I can totally understand trying to finally show them who you really are. I really don’t like how that control has turned into keeping students from actually getting a diploma and graduating for these types of things. I feel it’s a huge overstep and it might even be why these things keep happening. 

I think this is likely a big part of it. I was one of five valedictorians at my small high school graduation. We didn’t have a choice and had to speak which basically ruined the ceremony for me. We all agreed together, along with our guidance counselor, on the theme of our speeches and who would cover what aspect. On the day, one of the guys went totally in a different direction (nothing controversial) and spoke longer than the rest of us combined. None of the rest of us were bothered at all. I actually admired his initiative and confidence. And it was so completely out of character for him.

And controlling footwear and what students wear under their gowns just seems so unnecessary. Sandals and tennis shoes not allowed? Are they also not allowed in regular school days? Anything beyond enforcing the regular school dress control seems silly and over the top.

Edited by Frances
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44 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

The story about the valedictorian who went off script and brought abortion rights/freedoms into her speech and now this one about the guy who wore the Mexican flag has me questioning (again) why students do this.

I have been valedictorian and considered it the highest honor which I did not take lightly. I met with my advisors regarding my speech and, despite having social issues about which I am passionate, it never occurred to me to go off script. Never. I was representing the school and the student body, not my own self, and my speech content reflected that. So I don't understand the students who use this honor in such a way.

The flag thing confuses me. If the kid's parents left Mexico and came to the U.S. to give him a better future, wouldn't wearing the U.S. flag make more sense? The opportunity was here, not in Mexico. Also, he was given, along with the other students, a chance to personalize his graduation via the mortarboard with the exception of no flags. When the guy broke the rules, he accused the school, etc. of doing wrong.

What am I missing, here?? Why should anyone save for the student apologize?? The rules are in place for a reason. If the student did not like that, then why walk at all? Why "flip off" the school his parents made the effort to get him into in the first place and then declare that he did nothing wrong, that it's the school's fault?

I also don't understand why such incidents cause "outrage" in favor of the student flaunting and taunting (as it seems to me, personally) the rules/guidelines.





 

So because my ancestors and those of many others came from Ireland for better opportunities we should not be proud of our Irish heritage? I mean I’ve never personally felt the need to wear or fly the Irish flag, but there are certainly lots of people in the US from all different backgrounds whose families came here for a better life and opportunities and yet are still very proud of their heritage and express it in a variety of ways, including flying flags.

While I do think he should have followed the rules and decorated his mortarboard instead of wearing the flag, I don’t agree with withholding the diploma until he apologizes. He’s not sorry and forcing the issue isn’t going to make him sorry. He earned the diploma. It would have been better to not have allowed him to walk at all since he wasn’t following the rules, but still receive his diploma in the mail. Since it’s too late for that hopefully a different compromise can be reached.

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I'm curious if you'd feel differently if the stories were kids with a different political bent?

I'm a firm believer that kids don't shed their first amendment rights at the school gates. But I also sued my high school over my own, so obviously I'm coming from a certain point of view.

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If the young man wasn't supposed to drape the flag over his graduation gown, then why didn't someone stop him before he entered the venue, or when he was sitting in his seat? Why wait until he was in the process of receiving his diploma? It seems like the point of that was an attempt to shame him. I don't have patience for people who treat others like that. I respect their right to have a dress code, or to list "appropriate attire." I don't respect the way it was enforced.

As for the young lady and the speech, I think her speech wasn't in keeping with the purpose of the event and because of that it was inappropriate. Although she  probably offered it from a place of sincerity, she is a bit naive about how the world works. If she tries that while giving an unrelated speech in university she could likely fail and in the workplace, not giving the expected speech/report/whatever would be grounds for termination, unless her profession is as an activist for that particular cause. Hopefully someone along the line will have a chat about business etiquette with her although I'd be surprised if someone didn't discuss that with her as she was preparing her speech. I'm curious as to whether or not she had written something in to her original speech and had it cut by someone in administration. At my high school graduation, the valedictorian told his story of conversion to Christianity. I thought it was an unusual choice at the time, but it was his speech, not mine.

Having said all of this, I do wish that some of these rules would be re-evaluated and along with the rule for special events, the reason should be explained so that everyone knows why it is in effect. They would get much better buy in. I remember several "this is when you become an adult, so act like one" talks the past couple of months of my senior year leading up to prom, awards ceremonies and graduation. I think that's a good thing. Some students may need more specific information as to what that means in different settings.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

I'm a firm believer that kids don't shed their first amendment rights at the school gates. But I also sued my high school over my own, so obviously I'm coming from a certain point of view.

Okay, I want to hear this story!  That is so cool!!!

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1 hour ago, WildflowerMom said:

I agree with Kassia that they're just trying to find a way to express themselves.   I don't know what high school is like now, but mine was like a prison.   I can understand the desire to finally speak out and be themselves after escaping that.  
 

All that said, I'm glad I didn't have access to a microphone (or social media) at age 18.    There's no telling what I would've said.  🤦🏻‍♀️

Mine was controlling too. Terribly controlling. I was the valedictorian of my class, and the principal wrote the speech, and I was required to read it and act like it was my own. It was a very overbearing administrator. So ya, I went off script in the speech. Nothing as controversial as this student, but I totally burned the principal by doing my own thing.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'm curious if you'd feel differently if the stories were kids with a different political bent?

I'm a firm believer that kids don't shed their first amendment rights at the school gates. But I also sued my high school over my own, so obviously I'm coming from a certain point of view.

For me, it isn't about first amendment rights, but about being appropriate for the situation at hand. In the working world, or even in university, one doesn't go to a meeting where they are on the agenda to talk about subject A and talk about subject B instead unless it's a flat out emergency of some sort.

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2 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Okay, I want to hear this story!  That is so cool!!!

It's a bit complicated, but long story short, my friends and I ran the school underground newspaper, which the school only decided to suddenly block in the wake of a bunch of LGBTQ stuff going down. We got ACLU lawyers to defend us and it was eventually settled out of court, with the school district backing off and removing the rules that led to our censorship. Today, with how SCOTUS cases have changed the landscape since the 90's, it would likely have gone the other way, sadly.

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1 minute ago, TechWife said:

For me, it isn't about first amendment rights, but about being appropriate for the situation at hand. In the working world, or even in university, one doesn't go to a meeting where they are on the agenda to talk about subject A and talk about subject B instead unless it's a flat out emergency of some sort.

The school provided a platform for the speaker to express their views. But then they limited what views were allowed to be expressed. Opinions are routinely a part of valedictorian speeches. I understand what you're saying, I just see it really differently. 

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Just now, Terabith said:

Even if I don't think what they did was appropriate, the consequence of *withholding a diploma* is huge and permanent and ridiculous.  

Yeah. The punishment does not fit the crime here.

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Just now, Terabith said:

Even if I don't think what they did was appropriate, the consequence of *withholding a diploma* is huge and permanent and ridiculous.  

Yes, this is a prime example of “the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.” 

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2 minutes ago, WildflowerMom said:

Omg.  What the heck is happening here?  Did we just enter the twilight zone or find a glitch in the matrix? 

I'm definitely cracking up. I don't even know who owes who the Coke!

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8 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Even if I don't think what they did was appropriate, the consequence of *withholding a diploma* is huge and permanent and ridiculous.  

I agree. The question is what punishment would A- fit the crime and B- actually be enforceable? 

I think they could remove the title of from the diploma/transcript?  With the title comes the job of giving an acceptable speech with the given parameters and they didn’t do it.

5 years after I graduated I needed my transcript and my high school said they wouldn’t release one to anyone for me unless I paid some fine that apparently I’d never paid while in school.  It was only about $32 iirc and I had no idea what they were talking about how I might have gotten it. 

Maybe something like - an expensive fine? But then again, that would just mean rich people could give any speech they wanted and poor kids couldn’t.

But the truth is once the student graduates, there’s not much the school can enforce in them. 

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Posted (edited)

So I went to my dd's graduation this morning and we had a student draped in the Mexican flag. I cheered a little louder as he walked by me. I can't imagine anybody here reacting negatively to that. West coast is casual anyway (also wouldn't have problems with tennis shoes or sandals on graduation day), but also very supportive of everybody's different heritage. In fact, the ceremony opened with maybe 6 or 7 students welcoming parents/families/guests in their first languages--I know there was Spanish, Indian (Hindi?), and Farsi, and a few I did not recognize. To a blue state, west coast person, the NC school's reaction does sound and feel racist.

Edited by Ali in OR
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6 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I agree. The question is what punishment would A- fit the crime and B- actually be enforceable? 

I think they could remove the title of from the diploma/transcript?  With the title comes the job of giving an acceptable speech with the given parameters and they didn’t do it.

5 years after I graduated I needed my transcript and my high school said they wouldn’t release one to anyone for me unless I paid some fine that apparently I’d never paid while in school.  It was only about $32 iirc and I had no idea what they were talking about how I might have gotten it. 

Maybe something like - an expensive fine? But then again, that would just mean rich people could give any speech they wanted and poor kids couldn’t.

But the truth is once the student graduates, there’s not much the school can enforce in them. 

I’m not sure this type of thing routinely shows up on diplomas or transcripts. It didn’t on mine. Plus, I don’t think the young man was valedictorian, just the young woman.

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3 hours ago, TechWife said:

If the young man wasn't supposed to drape the flag over his graduation gown, then why didn't someone stop him before he entered the venue, or when he was sitting in his seat?

I don't know at what point he had the flag draped but wondered the same thing. If he had it on while sitting down or especially before entering, why was it not addressed right then?

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3 hours ago, TechWife said:

For me, it isn't about first amendment rights, but about being appropriate for the situation at hand. In the working world, or even in university, one doesn't go to a meeting where they are on the agenda to talk about subject A and talk about subject B instead unless it's a flat out emergency of some sort.

This is what bothers me about what the valedictorian did. While at university I was in a leadership position and an event came up with which I did not really agree. But it was not the time or place for me to take a stand - I represented a certain group's participation and not myself as an individual. I feel the same about those who give commencement speeches.

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3 hours ago, TechWife said:

Having said all of this, I do wish that some of these rules would be re-evaluated and along with the rule for special events, the reason should be explained so that everyone knows why it is in effect. They would get much better buy in. I remember several "this is when you become an adult, so act like one" talks the past couple of months of my senior year leading up to prom, awards ceremonies and graduation. I think that's a good thing. Some students may need more specific information as to what that means in different settings.

Given that this has beyond just this year  (thinking back as far as my tired brain can right now), I wonder if school personnel are addressing this issue but there are still those students who take advantage of the moment, administrators/advisors be d@mned.

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4 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I can't remember my high school graduation at all.  I do remember our convocation because it was at the National Cathedral and we had the Attorney General of Virginia speak.  I have no idea what he spoke about, though.

I remember the speeches, which were very good, and I remember the school counselor, who was announcing names, saying "Puh-treye-kee-uh" instead of Patricia (my middle name). I looked at her and said, "REALLY???"

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4 hours ago, Frances said:

So because my ancestors and those of many others came from Ireland for better opportunities we should not be proud of our Irish heritage?

I am so sorry, that's not what I meant/intended. It only seemed ironic to me that coming to this country provided the young man with an opportunity, so why not acknowledge that? I'm asking questions and trying to figure out/find answers as to why he did what he did, in the way he did.

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

The school provided a platform for the speaker to express their views. But then they limited what views were allowed to be expressed. Opinions are routinely a part of valedictorian speeches

At what point, though, does the valedictorian accept that he/she is not simply representing himself/herself? They stand on the stage and address their peers, yet not all of their peers share the same values, goals, experiences, etc. Yet they are sharing the same event of graduating and the same step of finishing something and starting something new. I have heard some outstanding commencement speeches (the best one given by the head librarian at a university - she was fantastic!) and all were encouraging and spoke to the group as a whole. There was no singling out of issues, no voicing personal opinions in the way I've seen the last few years.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

I am so sorry, that's not what I meant/intended. It only seemed ironic to me that coming to this country provided the young man with an opportunity, so why not acknowledge that? I'm asking questions and trying to figure out/find answers as to why he did what he did, in the way he did.

Because he chose to acknowledge his heritage instead? Maybe it was his way of acknowledging the sacrifices his parents made to bring him here, who knows without asking him. Many first, second, third, etc generation Americans acknowledge their heritage in lots of different situations and different ways. Do you also think they should not do so and instead only acknowledge the US? As I said, I think he should have followed the rules and put the flag on his mortarboard instead. But it doesn’t seem at all strange to me that he would choose the Mexican flag as his special symbol at graduation. I mean I’ve seen college students with beer mugs on their mortarboards. At least his is meaningful.

Edited by Frances
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

At what point, though, does the valedictorian accept that he/she is not simply representing himself/herself? They stand on the stage and address their peers, yet not all of their peers share the same values, goals, experiences, etc. Yet they are sharing the same event of graduating and the same step of finishing something and starting something new. I have heard some outstanding commencement speeches (the best one given by the head librarian at a university - she was fantastic!) and all were encouraging and spoke to the group as a whole. There was no singling out of issues, no voicing personal opinions in the way I've seen the last few years.

It’s nothing new. A quick internet search brought up lots of past instances, for instance, protesting various wars. I’m sure some instances make the news and other don’t.

Edited by Frances
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'm curious if you'd feel differently if the stories were kids with a different political bent?

I do not think so, but I am a rule follower and rule respecter, and I do not expect anyone to use a graduation speech in the way I've seen/heard these last few years. I appreciate so very much the commencement speakers I've had the privilege to hear (and learn from) and who did not misuse (as I see it) the incredible honor and position they were in. I had the same opportunity - to say something to several thousand graduates, parents, alumni, university staff, etc. But I would never have done so and betrayed the trust shown by my advisors and instructors who played a part in my selection as valedictorian. When I met with them to go over my speech it was with the understanding and, again, trust that what they read was what everyone would hear. I represented the school and the graduating class as a whole, not my own personal self in that moment.

Edited by BakersDozen
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4 minutes ago, Frances said:

Because he chose to acknowledge his heritage instead?

But if (as a previous poster pointed out, more details are needed in the story) one of the rules was no flags, then it's no flags. Or if mortarboards were allowed to be decorated, then that's it. Heritage, social issues, etc. aside, I don't see why guidelines/rules such as those cannot be followed. It could have been a rule of nothing on any mortarboards (which would eliminate a lot of fun messages I remember seeing - creativity at it's best!). Students were given parameters - why not respect them? In this situation I'm more concerned with a student's blatant disregard for commencement rules, which were not overly burdensome or ridiculous, and how he carried it out than with him wanting to acknowledge his heritage.

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Not everyone is a follower of each and every rule? 

I mean, he didn't cause harm. Neither did the young woman. The rules were maybe overly restrictive, if there's no natural consequence of breaking them? Society probably needs a sprinkling of ppl who question unimportant rules.

Idk anything about high school and valedictorians though, so pinch of salt.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

But if (as a previous poster pointed out, more details are needed in the story) one of the rules was no flags, then it's no flags. Or if mortarboards were allowed to be decorated, then that's it. Heritage, social issues, etc. aside, I don't see why guidelines/rules such as those cannot be followed. It could have been a rule of nothing on any mortarboards (which would eliminate a lot of fun messages I remember seeing - creativity at it's best!). Students were given parameters - why not respect them? In this situation I'm more concerned with a student's blatant disregard for commencement rules, which were not overly burdensome or ridiculous, and how he carried it out than with him wanting to acknowledge his heritage.

I said I thought he should have followed the rules and put his flag in his mortarboard instead of wearing it. You seemed to be saying he should be acknowledging the US and not Mexico. You said you were confused and that because the US gave him this opportunity that wearing the American flag would make more sense. You said you thought it was ironic that he wore the Mexican flag when coming to this country gave him the opportunity, so why did he not acknowledge that? You implied that even if he had followed the rules and put the flag on his mortarboard, you thought it should be an American flag and not the Mexican flag.
 

And I’m asking, do you think people in the US should not acknowledge their heritage, but rather only the US because of the opportunities coming here gives them? Or is it something special about graduations that makes this instance so triggering for you? You certainly seem to have a special feeling about graduation speeches. Personally, I’ve only heard one in my life that was even remotely interesting or inspiring. 

Edited by Frances
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I graduated in the year 2002. Literally all of the non-student speakers hijacked the ceremony to go on and on and on and ON about 9/11, which, let me tell you, I thought a moment of silence was more than enough, we didn't need to add another hour onto the ceremony to listen to repeated speeches about 9/11.

Nobody complained then, of course. Formally, I mean.

So, with the context of my own graduation I think this is all a tempest in a teapot, and that the schools are massively overreacting. The kids are gone! They've graduated! Just give up trying to control them, and move on to next year.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, TechWife said:

one doesn't go to a meeting where they are on the agenda to talk about subject A and talk about subject B instead unless it's a flat out emergency of some sort.

True, of course. Fwiw, though, I think that's precisely how the young woman feels about the moment in time when she had a platform to speak: that it is an emergency.

Quote

The speech that high school valedictorian Paxton Smith pulled from inside her graduation gown was not the one she had shown the school. So she took a deep breath before launching into it, wondering whether she would be allowed to share her thoughts about Texas' new restrictive abortion law.

"I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights," Smith said in her speech at the graduation ceremony for Lake Highlands High School in Dallas. ...

Smith concluded her speech by stating, "We cannot stay silent."

Her remarks came less than two weeks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed new restrictions into law that ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — as early as six weeks.

 

https://www.npr.org  [Ugh, my links are continuing to refuse to go to specific pages instead of general sites. The title of this NPR article is "High School Valedictorian Swaps Speech To Speak Out Against Texas' New Abortion Law"]

It's fair to disagree with her assessment, or to argue that graduation isn't a time for a personal speech, but I think she clearly felt that speaking out on this subject was urgent.

Edited by Innisfree
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8 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'm curious if you'd feel differently if the stories were kids with a different political bent?

I'm a firm believer that kids don't shed their first amendment rights at the school gates. But I also sued my high school over my own, so obviously I'm coming from a certain point of view.

I’m not Bakers Dozen, obviously, but I disagreed with the Texas young woman doing that, even though my position on the subject is the same as hers. It’s just not the place. Would you feel differently if the young lady used the valedictorian platform to project a pro-life view? What if she went off-script to say how happy she is that future valedictorians will not be killed off by abortion, due to the law? 

I do not agree with holding her up as a hero, even if my views on abortion are the same as hers. 

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So the question is, how much should power/influence should schools be able to exert over a former student's life?

I don't think there is a good punishment for breaking the code of conduct at graduation.  The school is left with few options to handle it in the moment:

-turning off the mike
-not allowing a student to walk across the stage
-escorting them out of the ceremony/barring from the rest of the festivities

Any of these would still allow the ceremony to go on with as little disruption as possible, and it would center the activity to the ceremony itself.  The school should still send the diploma later.

We had a kid in my graduating class who told an off color joke at our rehearsal.  He was promptly kicked out and not allowed to walk the line the next day, or attend the after-party.  He still was given his diploma at the office on Saturday morning (and Saturday detention to fulfill, since graduation happened the week before school got out for the rest).

I think an out of proportion response is just likely to backfire on the school, and more thought should be put into what graduation means and what they're preparing a student for. 

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

True, of course. Fwiw, though, I think that's precisely how the young woman feels about the moment in time when she had a platform to speak: that it is an emergency.

It’s egocentric. Really, what did she hope to accomplish? Did she think the legislature would convene and say, “Oh, our mistake. Now that this smart young lady has spoken out, we surely ought to nullify the law”? If she feels so passionately about it, she should join some organizations, or start her own, to demonstrate that (thousands? Millions?) of young women feel the same. Hold a local rally. Petition her legislature. Go through the channels used by every single person who rejects a law. Go to law school. Fight for those views herself. 

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5 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

The rules were maybe overly restrictive, if there's no natural consequence of breaking them? Society probably needs a sprinkling of ppl who question unimportant rules.

Heck yes. Young people should question the rules! I don't get why everyone harps on the rule following- this entire country was created because people did not follow the rules, lol.

I grew up in a society where speaking in public about a cause that mattered to you would have cost you every further opportunity and possibly landed you in prison. I am very allergic to policing speech. 

What is the point of a speech when it may only contain pre-approved inspirational messages,  saccharine waxing, praise for the institution? 

Schools have way too many stupid rules that are completely unnecessary for the functioning of an educational institution. Nobody was harmed by these students expressing themselves, and they didn't break any law.

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

It’s egocentric. 

Huh? Would you consider it egocentric if she had spoken out about racism in the school? 

Any meaningful change begins with one person speaking up, wherever they find an audience. 

We brought our totalitarian regime to its knees by walking on the street with candles and cardboard placards.

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So, ds hasn’t stood for or participated in the Pledge of Allegiance for several years now. It’s something he feels strongly about. During high school he was one of several who never stood for it in classes, which was always allowed. Prior to his graduation ceremony students were told they had to at least stand and pretend in order to graduate and were told not too embarrass the school. Ds was the only one who still stayed in his seat for it during the ceremony. Fortunately, they didn’t actually stick to their word but we would have fought it hard if they had tried. Neither dh, a Marine Corps veteran, nor myself were upset with him at all for following his conscience.

Again, I really hate hire controlling schools have become. Also, the work and “real world” examples given don’t always actually work that way. Dh has been very outspoken and gone off script several times while in the corporate world and most times it’s actually led to change, not him getting fired. 

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1 minute ago, regentrude said:

Huh? Would you consider it egocentric if she had spoken out about racism in the school? 

Any meaningful change begins with one person speaking up, wherever they find an audience. 

We brought our totalitarian regime to its knees by walking on the street with candles and cardboard placards.

I would consider it egocentric for any valedictorian to veer off script and start by saying they can’t keep silent about a law in their state. For one thing, I clearly see how this could go in the other direction. What if a valedictorian in a very liberal area had veered off-script after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and used the platform to pipe up about how, “God calls homosexuality an abomination! We must protect the sanctity of marriage!” Or whatever. 

Walking the streets with candles and placards is precisely what I think she should be doing instead. Included in the same Bill of Rights is the right to assemble and demonstrate non-violently. Any person can apply for permission to march/parade/assemble peaceably anywhere in the US. 

It’s egocentric to say, Hey, I have an audience so Im going to go off script and prattle on about what is important to me. Laws are not changed because some girl went rogue when she was entrusted to speak in public representing her school and cohort. 

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Quill said:

Really, what did she hope to accomplish?

From the same article I quoted earlier,

Quote

Despite swapping her text, Smith finished her speech and got a rousing cheer from her classmates and staff. In the days since her address on Sunday, video of the event has gone viral, and Smith has been praised for speaking her mind.

So, she generated a lot of publicity. No, the legislature isn't changing its mind, but this is one way political change happens: by bringing an issue to people's attention.

Since she was cheered by her classmates, she may have been representing them more than the school realized. Maybe she spoke about a concern they shared.

I understand what bothers everyone about this, but I don't think this is the first time someone has used the valedictory platform to bring attention to an issue. Presidents routinely do the same when they speak, don't they? Their audience isn't likely completely in agreement, either. And yes, a president of the United States is not the same as a valedictorian,  but both have been asked to speak, and both have used the occasion for their own purposes. If the administration wants only approved messages, they'd better get them on video ahead of time.

Edited by Innisfree
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