After reports about several off-message valedictorian speeches at schools around the United States, one Texas high school took efforts last week to make sure its graduation ceremony had no surprises.
When Joshua High School senior Remington Reimer strayed from his pre-approved speech and began discussing his constitutional rights, his microphone was unexpectedly silenced. While Reimer attempted to finish his speech, not even spectators in the first rows could hear him, reports the Burleson Star.
“Yesterday, I was threatened with having the mic turned off and -- ” said the future Naval Academy attendee, just moments before his mic was cut, as is shown in a local CBS video of the gathering.
Spectators initially wondered if the abrupt silence had anything to do with the religious content of Reimer’s speech, but a statement released by the school said he was cut off when officials recognized that he was deviating from the speech they had previously read.
Although the speech was peppered with references to God, district Superintendant Fran Marek told the Cleburne Times-Review that the decision to cut off Reimer had nothing to do with religion. Furthermore, per the Burleson Star, the graduation ceremony ended with a prayer.
According to a statement made on school district’s Facebook page, “When one student’s speech deviated from the prior-reviewed speech, the microphone was turned off, pursuant to District policy and procedure.” In addition, the statement noted that the incident had nothing to do with the content of Reimer’s speech.
Reimer’s sister also took to Facebook to comment on the incident, and posted the rest of the speech he had attempted to deliver.
“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs. Where our mikes [sic] won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be,” read the speech, per the Cleburne Times-Review. “Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Saducees [sic], Who [sic] tried to silence Him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me.”
The incident comes after a slew of graduation speech surprises. Last week, one South Carolina student caused a stir when he ripped up his pre-approved valedictorian speech and recited a prayer instead. In May, one class president made headlines after he recited a prayer at his high school graduation, despite objections from other students.