Grad Sues School for Censoring Her Valedictory Speech



Last month at the commencement ceremony of Foothill High School in Henderson, Nevada, valedictorian Brittany McComb deviated from a school-approved speech to share about the influence of God's love on her life, only to have her speech cut short. Now the high school graduate is suing the district for pulling the plug on her commencement address.

McComb has filed suit against the Clark County School District, alleging her 1st and 14th Amendment rights were violated. According to the former Foothill High student, school officials vetting her graduation day speech actually removed the words “Christ” and “Lord” as well as a number of Bible verses from her planned address. At commencement, when she opted not to leave out those references, school officials moved quickly to cut off her microphone, effectively ending her valedictory address.

Attorney John Whitehead is president of The Rutherford Institute, which is representing McComb. He calls the school's actions in this matter “a clear case of censorship and discrimination” as well as “an egregious violation of free speech” and notes that when the school pulled the plug on his client's microphone while she was speaking, people quickly realized something very significant and very wrong had taken place.

The crowd “went completely silent,” and then audience members started booing and shouting out, “Let her speak!” Whitehead says. “So the people there understood something really bad had happened that day,” he contends. “This is the kind of thing you see happening in countries that are fascist, Communist, where they actually cut the microphone off on a speaker.”

The attorney says the school officials trampled McComb's constitutional freedoms, and now he is asking a federal court to vindicate the young woman's rights. “What we want to see is the court rule what happened here totally unconstitutional,” he explains. “We don't want to see this happen to anybody else in this country again, ever.”

That's the “gist” for the outcome of the lawsuit, Whitehead says. “Of course,” he adds that he would welcome “whatever awards the court would want to give Brittany and her family — they've been through a pretty tough time with this, a very humiliating experience.”

What happened to Brittany McComb should not happen in America, a country that prides itself on promoting freedom, Whitehead asserts. “Free countries don't allow these things to happen,” he says.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

MENU