- Remington Reimer was to make the Valedictory speech
- All speeches had to be pre-approved by the school
- Reimer deviated from the script and his mic was pulled
- Continued speak even after being muted although nobody could hear him
By James Daniel
PUBLISHED: 15:40 EST, 8 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:57 EST, 8 June 2013
A Texas high school silenced its Valedictorian’s microphone during his speech when he diverted from his pre-approved remarks and began to speak about the constitution.
Joshua High School graduate Remington Reimer, who was accepted into the Naval Academy, had his microphone silenced during his speech right after he told fellow graduates that school officials had threatened to cut him off the day before.
His speech began like any other: ‘I’m honored to stand before you today as the Valedictorian of 2013!’
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Reimer thanked his parents, teachers and classmates. ‘Most people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile,’ said Reimer.
He then talked about his faith and God, ‘Most important I want to thank God for giving us the only son who went through excruciating death on a cross…’
Then he said it was his constitutional right to talk about such topics. ‘I was threatened with having the mic turned off,’ and right then the mic was turned off.
Reimer continued with his speech, but some thought that he had finished and began applauding.
He continued speaking even though few could hear him.
Colin Radford, a fellow graduate explained what happened to MyFoxDFW.com ‘He just said, he was talking about getting constitutional rights getting taken away from him, and then he said, just yesterday they threatened to turn my microphone off, and then his microphone went off.’
‘Student speakers were told that if their speeches deviated from the prior-reviewed material, the microphone would be turned off, regardless of content,’ Joshua Independent School District said in a statement.
WAS THE SCHOOL RIGHT TO CENSOR THEIR VALEDICTORIAN?
Joshua school district policy gives these rules about graduation speeches by valedictorian, salutatorians and class historians.
‘The subject of the addresses shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony, marking and honoring the occasion, honoring the participants and those in attendance, and the student’s perspective on purpose, achievement, life, school, graduation, and looking forward to the future.
The student shall stay on the subject, and the student shall not engage in speech that: Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent; Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others; Promotes illegal drug use; Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person; Contains defamatory statements about public figures or others; or Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
Source: Joshua ISD policy FNA (Local) Student Rights and Responsibilities, Student Expression
‘When one student’s speech deviated from the prior-reviewed speech, the microphone was turned off, pursuant to District policy and procedure,’ the statement said.
Some attendees initially asked if the microphone was turned off because Reimer mentioned religion.
However, since the ceremony opened and closed with a prayer, and Reimer’s speech mentioned God and Jesus throughout, graduate Zachery Hull believes it had nothing to do with religion.
‘Freedom of speech,’ Hull said. ‘He said what he was going to say, they did what they had to do. Everyone was right.’
In addition to being the smartest kid in his class, Reimer was active in Junior ROTC and has accepted a full scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy, friends say.
In his speech, he mentioned God and Jesus and his religious faith while urging others to stick up for their constitutional rights.
Administrators say his religious comments had nothing to do with their decision to cut him off, noting that other students were allowed to make religious comments which had been pre-approved.
Joshua school district administrators say they censored Reimer because he began to stray from his prepared remarks.
‘At the time that the speech was deviated from, the microphone was turned off — and they were told that, prior to the graduation ceremony, regardless of content,’ Superintendent Fran Marek said.