Skip to comments.School withholds valedictorian’s diploma for saying “hell”
Posted on 08/21/2012 7:51:43 AM PDT by servo1969
PRAGUE, Okla. Theres a bit of diploma drama going on between a local high school and that schools valedictorian.
David Nootbaar is furious his daughters school is keeping her diploma.
He said, She has worked so hard to stay at the top of her class and this is not right.
Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School, the Red Devils, in May and was named valedictorian.
When tasked with writing the graduation speech, her dad said she got her inspiration from the movie Eclipse: The Twilight Saga.
Nootbaar said, Her quote was, When she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation, people would ask her, what do you want to do and she said how the hell do I know? Ive changed my mind so many times.
He said in the written script she gave to the school she wrote heck, but in the moment she said hell instead.
Nootbaar said the audience laughed, she finished her speech to warm applause and didnt know there was a problem.
That was until she went to pick up the real certificate this week.
We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said, Your diploma is right here but youre not getting it. Close the door; we have a problem, Nootbaar said.
He said the principal told Kaitlin she would have to write an apology letter before he would release the diploma.
A move her dad believes is illegal.
She earned that diploma. She completed all the state curriculum. In four years she has never made a B. She got straight As and had a 4.0 the whole way through.
Kaitlin starts college in a few days on a full scholarship, making the administrators decision even more appalling to her family.
We tried to get the schools side of the story.
Superintendent Dr. Rick Martin said in a statement, This matter is confidential and we cannot publicly say anything about it.
Kaitlin doesnt plan on writing an apology letter because she doesnt feel she did anything wrong.
Her family supports that choice.
Kaitlin sent KFOR-TV this statement Monday afternoon:
First off, I would like to thank everyone who is backing me on this, especially my friends and family. And to those who dont agree with me, that is fine also. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is free to comment however they choose. Its one of the great advantages of living in a free country. A country where we are free to speak. I would also like to note that I do not hate Prague. I have loved that town since I was a child. I dont hate the school either, the teachers have always been great! I dont feel that the whole town should suffer from the mistakes of few. Again, thanks:)
But, they're not going to give it to her unless she does what they say?
And what if she doesn't do it?
Are they just going to keep her diploma forever?
How does that work?
Does that mean she'll never officially graduate until such time? They are allowed to do that?
Seems that there is a bit of petty tyranny to me. Seems like someone wants to let her know who's the big boss before she leaves.
Someone needs to ‘school’ that principal on the Constitution, and common law on theft of personal property, and extortion................
So the Red Devils’ principal is going to withhold the official diploma of this student who received a full scholarship? That means she cannot officially receive her full scholarship because the school she attends requires an official transcript and diploma before they will hand out her scholarship money. What a jerk this princiPAL is.
Where is it written in the school rules that the school can withhold a diploma because the valedictorian said a bad word in a speech? The Prague Red Devils need to grow up.
Irony: Being punished by a school whose mascot is the Red Devils for saying the word “hell.”
What the hell?
Some of the most bureaucratic, inflexible and narrow-minded people I meet are “educators”
Why didn’t she get her “real” diploma at Graduation like I did?
the little foul mouth brat needs to just write the apology and move on with her life.
Amazing—This is coming from a system that has taken God out of the schools, gives out free condoms, teaches homo-sex is ok and much more and is out-raged that someone would use a word that describes where the School system Is-just stunning
Hell AND Damnation, she should have been preaching.
This is about a government official trying to exercise an authority they do not possess.
She had technically (and legally) already graduated from the school prior to the beginning of the ceremony (the graduation ceremony is just a show with no legal significance whatsoever; if you don’t attend the graduation ceremony you are just as legally graduated as if you did). The school’s authority to control her actions and punish her ended the moment she graduated.
I’d withhold it due to the fact that she lifted this idea from those dumb Twilight movies.
Looks like Jesus would have to apologize as well to get a diploma
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, Raca, is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell.
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
A friend of mine was not allowed to graduate with his class and almost didn’t get his diploma. But not because he said “hell.” He drove his truck through the security gate and was planning driving it into the school and parking it in the common area next to the cafeteria before someone talked him out of it.
That didn’t sit well with the administration.
In polite company, we don’t say “hell”. It’s somewhat vulgar. It certainly doesn’t belong in a valedictorian address. It is somewhat disrespectful and rude.
Constitution? First and second amendments? In a theoretical sense, of course she has a right to say nearly whatever she wants.
Why is it so hard to admit a mistake?
It’s pretty f’n easy, really.
lack a class = lack of class
I can’t get to the school’s home page. When I try to bring it up, I get shunted to the athletic page. Angry protesters on the Internet must be putting its staff through hell.
Obviously I wasn’t there, but based upon what I’ve read in the story, the principal’s response is way overboard here.
Okay, she should have said “heck”, as it was written in the speech. Maybe she planned to say hell, maybe she didn’t. Either way, let it go already. It’s not like she went into a 15-minute routine from Chris Rock or Lenny Bruce. She didn’t even drop an F-bomb. Beyond that, she completed her studies at that high school (in outstanding fashion, though GPA is not the issue here), and is moving on to the next phase of her life. The principal needs to write this off as a senior moment and move on, too.
You are right about one thing “the graduation ceremony is just a show with no legal significance whatsoever”
But here is where you go astray. Many schools have their graduation ceremony before the end of the school year (sometimes WAY before). And students are required to continue to attend school after the meaningless ceremony and follow all school rules (including ones regarding behavior at school functions like the meaningless graduation ceremony) until they officially graduate.