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Should a High School Valedictorian Not Receive a Diploma for Using ‘Hell’ in Her Speech? -The Jersey Jury

When I hosted the Millstone Battle of the bands Saturday night, I did some comedy in between the acts as the bands were setting up. One of the jokes I told was “What does Mets stand for? Answer – ‘My Entire Team Sucks’ and the other was about how we should put a billboard as you leave the state saying “You are leaving New Jersey, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

College Graduates
Flickr User llee_wu

Having told those jokes on that stage before, I didn’t really see the harm in them. I was later chastised by one of the Moms who thought I went too far. Considering what I hear on television in prime time, during the “family hour” and what I hear coming from the mouths of babes, I didn’t think it was a problem. Nonetheless I did apologize to one of the Moms. I tell this story because of Kaitlin Nootbar.


Kaitlin graduated Prague High School in Oklahoma with a 4.0 grade average. She was named valedictorian and in her speech she used the word hell. As in “How the hell do I know” when she was constantly asked what she wants to do as graduation approached. Her speech was inspired by a similar address in “Eclipse; The Twilight Saga”. Now the school refuses to give her the diploma she earned unless she submits a written apology.


Do you think this is right? I do not. First off, we have freedom of speech in this country. Secondly unless there is a law passed prohibiting you from using the word. I see no problem. Kaitlin seems to be going through what hosts have been going through since talk radio began. Where is the line? For the school to force her to submit a written apology and hold her diploma over her head takes all the sincerity out of it. All it does is leave a permanent blemish on her incredible school year. What do you think?

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