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Thread: Valedictorians diploma withheld because she said "hell" in her graduation speech

  1. #1
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    Valedictorians diploma withheld because she said "hell" in her graduation speech

    BTW, the school mascot is the "Devils"

    PRAGUE, Okla.– There’s a bit of diploma drama going on between a local high school and that school’s valedictorian.
    David Nootbaar is furious his daughter’s school is keeping her diploma.
    He says, “She has worked so hard to stay at the top of her class and this is not right.”
    Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School in May and was named valedictorian.
    When tasked with writing the graduation speech, her dad says she got her inspiration from the movie “Eclipse: The Twilight Saga.”
    Nootbaar says, “Her quote was, when she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation people would ask her what do you want to do and she said ‘How the h*** do I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.”
    He says in the written script she gave to the school she said “heck,” but in the moment she said h*** instead.
    Nootbaar says the audience laughed, she finished her speech to warm applause and didn’t know there was a problem.
    That was until she went to pick up the real certificate this week.
    “We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said ‘Your diploma is right here but you’re not getting it. Close the door we have a problem,” says Nootbaar.
    He says the principal told Kaitlin she would have to write an apology letter before he would release the diploma.
    A move dad believes is illegal.
    “She earned that diploma she completed all the state curriculum. In four years she has never made a B. She got straight A’s and had a 4.0 the whole way through.”
    Kaitlin starts college in a few days on a full scholarship, making the administrators’ decision even more appalling to her family.


    http://kfor.com/2012/08/18/46913/
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  2. #2
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    I'm not sure the school has a legal leg to stand on here. As far as profanity goes, this figure of speech is pretty mild.
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    wow...was that speech to Huskermax?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw11 View Post
    wow...was that speech to Huskermax?
    It was on the Football board. I heard Werther's spit out at least 3 times.
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  6. #6
    There is an age-old tradition of withholding HS diplomas from kids who disrespect the event, even in minor ways.

    This girl is being done a disservice by her parents IMO. They should not "respect her decision" here. They should tell her to write the apology letter and get on with her life. You were asked to speak at an event, you used language they didn't appreciate. Don't make a federal case out of it -- just apologize and move on.

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    If I was her, I would go ahead and write an apology letter and include all the curse words she learned at school. And include any other incedents she witnessed. Make sure the local paper gets a copy of the letter and then go off to college and never step foot in the school again.

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    Prauge, Ok is a town of about 2,200 people, so it wouldn't surprise me if it's a conservative town, that has more churches than eating establishments. Wouldn't surprise me if, despite what the parents say about the laughing, there were some people who were taken aback by the use of the word hell in the speech. I think it's a bit harsh, but I don't know if administrators told the girl to not use any foul language, and like it or not, but in a small conservative town, the word hell would be considered harsh for some, especially during a graduation ceremony. It wouldn't phase me, but it doesn't really take much to get parents pissed off. Only way the school and administrators would be found guilty of any wrong-doing in court would be if there were no rules in place on matters like this. I'm guessing though, the district does have a policy in place in their handbook that allows for the administrators to handle the matter like they are. May not make the policy right, though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerator 5000 View Post
    There is an age-old tradition of withholding HS diplomas from kids who disrespect the event, even in minor ways.

    This girl is being done a disservice by her parents IMO. They should not "respect her decision" here. They should tell her to write the apology letter and get on with her life. You were asked to speak at an event, you used language they didn't appreciate. Don't make a federal case out of it -- just apologize and move on.
    Seriously? I would tell her to go to college, and forget about the little minded people at the school she just finished with. What are they going to do to her? Withhold her diploma until they get what they want from her? Why aren't the school administrators being asked why they are wound so tight that one word, said in the heat of the moment, would be due cause to withhold the Valedictorian's diploma?
    You never stand so tall as when you kneel to help a child.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 4evrHusker View Post
    Seriously? I would tell her to go to college, and forget about the little minded people at the school she just finished with. What are they going to do to her? Withhold her diploma until they get what they want from her?
    They might do exactly that. Seriously, every year in high schools across the country, some kid does some silly antic during the graduation ceremony and then has to serve detention before getting his diploma. This girl is not being singled out.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4evrHusker View Post
    Why aren't the school administrators being asked why they are wound so tight that one word, said in the heat of the moment, would be due cause to withhold the Valedictorian's diploma?
    Maybe because someone in the audience was the first in his family to graduate from high school, and his grandparents traveled by tractor 200 miles to see the ceremony, and they don't appreciate her disrespect.

    She was giving a prepared speech, is it that hard to avoid profanity? No, it isn't. I'm not saying this girl is a bad human being because she used a bad word. That's not true at all. But she should apologize -- it's the right thing to do and it costs her essentially nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4evrHusker View Post
    Seriously? I would tell her to go to college, and forget about the little minded people at the school she just finished with. What are they going to do to her? Withhold her diploma until they get what they want from her? Why aren't the school administrators being asked why they are wound so tight that one word, said in the heat of the moment, would be due cause to withhold the Valedictorian's diploma?
    She submitted her speech to administrators with the word "heck" instead of "hell". One would think that had she had "hell" in her speech when submitted, administrators would have circled it, and told her to change the word. So, one could say she slipped in the heat of the moment, and another could say she was trying to pull a fast one on administrators, because she knew that they would never have approved a speech with the word "hell" in it.

    Like I said earlier, it doesn't mean I agree with the punishment.

  12. #12
    I had this discussion once with a member of the clergy. Is it the actual word or the intent of the word which is the "sin." Dadgummit means the same thing as another term but is okay while the other is not, yet the meaning is exactly the same. Same for heck and hell and frick and that other word. If the meaning is the same why is one word okay but not the other, socially acceptable??? What about cultural context? In the US, bloody is not particularly bad but would bring about the same results for the high school speech giver in certain villages in the UK. I suspect hell is the same, in certain parts of the US, it would not even bring a second thought if a high school senior were to use it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerator 5000 View Post
    They might do exactly that. Seriously, every year in high schools across the country, some kid does some silly antic during the graduation ceremony and then has to serve detention before getting his diploma. This girl is not being singled out.



    Maybe because someone in the audience was the first in his family to graduate from high school, and his grandparents traveled by tractor 200 miles to see the ceremony, and they don't appreciate her disrespect.

    She was giving a prepared speech, is it that hard to avoid profanity? No, it isn't. I'm not saying this girl is a bad human being because she used a bad word. That's not true at all. But she should apologize -- it's the right thing to do and it costs her essentially nothing.
    This.

    Even if we did nothing wrong, a simple apology to someone who believes you did can sometimes avoid a bigger hassle and lets everyone move on with their lives. Humility is a lost virtue.

    She can roll her eyes about it and have a good laugh later in life when she tells others what she had to do to get her diploma.
    Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey; see a doctor and get rid of it.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerator 5000 View Post
    Maybe because someone in the audience was the first in his family to graduate from high school, and his grandparents traveled by tractor 200 miles to see the ceremony, and they don't appreciate her disrespect.
    I honestly see both sides of this issue. I think there's nothing wrong with a reprimand, but with-holding her diploma is a bit over the top. Additionally, you're not doing your argument much good with silly statements like the bolded above...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKinneyTXHusker View Post
    I honestly see both sides of this issue. I think there's nothing wrong with a reprimand, but with-holding her diploma is a bit over the top. Additionally, you're not doing your argument much good with silly statements like the bolded above...
    Exactly.
    This happened in Oklahoma. They can't stay sober long enough to drive that far.
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