Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From One Salutatorian to Another

Sticking with my "a day late" approach to blogging, the Press of Atlantic City ran a story Friday Mainland principal cuts off salutatorian's graduation speech which explains that a "school employee" (no name/position given) cut the Salutatorian's microphone when her speech shifted from a pre-approved speech to her own, off-the-cuff speech.

As the former Salutatorian of Keansburg High School Class of '98, first I congratulate Mrs. Jennifer Chau on her graduation from High School and her dedication to her education. Earning the privilege to speak freely at your own highschool graduation does not come easy and is a privilege that I understand the work and effort it takes to earn. Again, I commend you for your work ethic and earning the ability to speak.

Second, I offer these words of wisdom to Jennifer and all others - don't let the man keep you down! (I know, how trendy and ridiculous) Say what you want, the way you want to say it, where ever you feel like saying it.

Had some "school employee" just let Jennifer lambast the administration for whatever reasons, right or wrong, Jennifer's speech would have gone down in history the way of me losing my first tooth, undocumented, unknown and out of the public eye. Instead, by taking the communist approach to free speech, some "school employee" has earn Jennifer the platform that is the media to get her message out.

Free speech is a pillar of freedom. Jennifer not only has the right to free speech, but she went one step further and earned the ability to exercise that right at her high school graduation. Her speech may have upset a few and it may have inspired a few. I don't necessarily think Jennifer should be using her high school graduation speech to blast the administration, however, she does have that right, and through her hard word, she has the opportunity. She wasn't yelling "FIRE" into the mic, she wasn't delivering "hate speech" or inciting a riot and she has every right to speak freely on time that she earned to speech. She did not just yell out from the audience and interrupt the ceremony, she did not impede on anyone else's right to speak (like the "Don't Taze Me Bro" guy) and there is no reason that the salutatorian should be denied her right to deliver her speech on her time.

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