During his valedictory speech at Joshua ISD high school in Texas, Remington Reimer was cut off. What was his great sin? Talking about God. “I’m honored to stand before you today as the Valedictorian of 2013,” he began. Then he thanked teachers, parents, classmates, and joked about this serious demeanor. It wasn’t until he began talking about religion that the administration cut his mic. “Most important,” he said, “I want to thank God for giving us the only son who went through excruciating death on a cross.” He mentioned that the administration had threatened to cut off the mic, and that he was speaking out as was his Constitutional right. And that’s when the school cut off his mic.
“People thought he was done and we clapped,” said a fellow student.
The school pre-approves speeches, and some students suggested that Reimer went with the non-approved version of his speech. “He sent in a prior speech before that and they threw it away so he wasn’t going to let them tell him what to say, what not to say,” graduate Bryce Daniels explained.
The school district refused statement. Joshua ISD, however, released a statement:
The District has reviewed the rules and policy regarding graduation speech, and it has been determined that policy was followed at the Joshua High School 2013 Graduation Ceremony. The valedictorian, salutatorian, and class historian speeches were reviewed in advance by the campus staff, prior to the graduation ceremony. Student speakers were told that if their speeches deviated from the prior-reviewed material, the microphone would be turned off, regardless of content. When one student’s speech deviated from the prior-reviewed speech, the microphone was turned off, pursuant to District policy and procedure.
Fran Marek Joshua ISD Superintendent