Several weeks ago, a high school valedictorian made national news when he deviated from his pre-approved speech and talked about the Constitution and the role God plays in his life. The microphone was ordered cut off in his speech and the principal threatening to derail his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Now, the school district is singing a different tune.
As reported in an earlier story on Fox News, high school valedictorian Remington Reimer’s microphone was cut off during his speech because he strayed from the preapproved text.
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.
“It was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech, the teenager said.
Sasser is now representing the teenager and is calling for the Joshua Independent School District to issue a public statement exonerating him of any wrongdoing.
According to the story, the principal “threatened to send a letter to the United States Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character or words to that effect.”
Now the superintendent has come out and issued an apology to the Reimer family. The apology does not address the microphone being cut off, but it does address the actions of the principal. The Burleson Star quotes the principal as saying “the graduate was never threatened,” but the superintendent apologized anyway:
“…I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to (Remington’s father) Todd Reimer and Remington Reimer for any interpretation of a threat by (JHS principal Mick) Cochran in expressing his displeasure at a meeting between Todd Reimer and Cochran following Remington Reimer’s valedictory address,” said JISD superintendent Fran Marek in a statement. “The district has never intended to nor will take punitive action against Remington Reimer for deviating from the prior-reviewed speech.”
So the case appears to be closed. What’s interesting from the video is that Reimer’s microphone was cut off as soon as he started talking about deviating from his speech. So, was he silenced for talking about God, or was he silenced for breaking a rule that he knew was in place? Was the school district correct in enforcing the policy? What do you think of the policy of only allowing pre-approved speeches? I think those are the real questions.