Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Idiot Re-framing of Bad Behavior

Last Thursday night, Foothill High School (in Nevada) valedictorian Brittany McComb had the microphone cut off during her presentation of her valedictory speech when she defied school authorities by presenting an unapproved version of her speech. That version consisted of a number of references to God and the Bible.

As you can imagine, the conservative blogs are talking about her school authorities are persscuting her.

Really? The authorities would be well within their rights to withhold her diploma.

This is not a close call. The 9th Circuit Court, which governs Nevada, ruled in Lassonde v. Pleasanton Unified School District (2003) that speeches such as the one Ms. McComb was delivering "would amount to coerced participation in a religious practice."

In order to make sure that Ms. McComb's speech conformed to the court decision, school administrators reviewed an earlier draft of her speech, and cut the religious references from it.

According to press reports, McComb said she defied school authorities because she believed it was free speech issue. McComb told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that "I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech." Obviously, she wasn't taught about the Establishment Clause.

The decision to cut the mike was booed by the crowd. I'm sure that parents felt bad about how it looked like a "child" was being embarrassed by "big bad adults". Yet, it appears that McComb went into the speech knowing exactly what she was doing. While I admire civil disobedience, please don't squawk when the punishment is delivered.

McComb plans to study journalism at Biola University, a private Christian school in La Mirada, CA.

Hopefully, she will learn more about the First Amendment, and what is truly freedom of speech.


Blogger dscar said...

Agreed. Suppose for the moment that someone in the audience stood up and walked out in the middle of her valedictorian speech. Imagine the uproar that would have had.

It seems to me that we have yet another example of adults condoning bad behavior by children, which in turn leads to bad citizenry.

10:12 AM  

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