High School Cut Student President’s Mike When He Calls For Greater Student Rights At Graduation

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 9.49.06 PMWe have previously discussed the erosion of free speech rights in high schools as well as the expansion of discipline for students for discussions and postings outside of school.  That conflict was vividly shown in Pennsylvania where Peter Butera was speaking to the graduating class of his high school when he criticized the lack of power in student government.  The response from Principal Jon Pollard was swift.  Butera’s mike was cut off and he was escorted stage.

We recently discussed the free speech controversy in Florida where Vero Beach High School junior J.P. Krause won the election for class president only to be told that he would be retroactively disqualified. The reason was his tongue-in-cheek campaign speech using Trump slogans.

In this case, Butera told his fellow students that following:

“Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government — and the authoritative nature that a few administrators and school members have — prevents students from developing as true leaders. Hopefully, this will change … (audio turned off).”

Butera was supported by his fellow students and in the end the scene confirmed the very allegation that he raised in the speech. He said as much later when he stated “I don’t think it could have gone any better. I got my point across and them cutting the microphone proved my point to be true.”

While the students chanted “Let him speak!,” the principal reportedly just said “Alright Peter, you’re done.”

Wyoming Area Superintendent Janet Serino supported the school in censoring the speech — noting that Butera had veered from the prepared and approved remarks.

Butera certainly has a memorable graduation though I am surprised that he wants to study business administration rather than law at Villanova University.

The question I would ask if whether these words would have been removed had Butera included them in his draft. I can understand the need for prior approval of speeches but I think that this criticism is precisely the type of independent thought that we want reflected in our graduates.

What do you think?

 

 

98 thoughts on “High School Cut Student President’s Mike When He Calls For Greater Student Rights At Graduation

  1. Public schools today are like minimum security prisons, with fences, armed officials, and cameras, conditioning the students that when they are out in society, that they continue to exist in such an apparatus, obeying authority figures, without question.

    • David Benson – exactly when does in Locus Parentis end for the school? Does it end when the student earns enough credits to graduate, when the student receives their diploma, after the ceremony? After they leave campus for the ceremony?

  2. Trump references aside, his speech was a good one. Hate speech is not free speech and Trump was all about the hate speech. I am for independence in children, but it must be at levels appropriate to their age/maturity level. They should be taught healthy, positive, respectful ways to articulate their thoughts and feelings and that’s not done by stepping on others. I’m not saying the student did, but Trump and others do.

  3. What do you think?

    Wyoming Area Superintendent Janet Serino and Principal Jon Pollard are petty authoritarian control freaks who have disgraced themselves and the school district they represent.

    What do these nincompoops think they are teaching their students?

    How to genuflect to those in authority upon command?

  4. I can understand the need for prior approval of speeches but I think that this criticism is precisely the type of independent thought that we want reflected in our graduates.

    What, what but? Has the class valedictorian earned the honor of making a speech at the commencement ceremony, or has he earned the honor of reading the approved speech of the school administrators? The people that pay the salaries of these administrators are sitting in the audience ready to hear the comments of the school’s top graduate. If there were some true accountability to the taxpaying parent’s on what this school produces, then they should demand to hear the unfiltered words of the class valedictorian. Maybe Mr. or Miss Irrelevant should be given an opportunity to speak as well.

      • Thanks Mike. They should bookend those speeches with the top and and last in the class graduates. Let the parents consider what their progeny received while watching the administrators and educators squirm.

        • Yes, holding up to ridicule a student barely able to scrape by is a fantastic way to celebrate the accomplishments of the class.

          Whether the administrators are capable or whether they are useless, there’s only so much you can accomplish with some youngsters and only so much a motivated youngster can accomplish.

          • Whether the administrators are capable or whether they are useless,

            I’m still paying for them. I’m the consumer in this equation and they are the service provider. I have every right to know what variation they have in their education process and what they are doing to eliminate or minimize it as much as possible. I’m not about to sit around and make excuses for poor performance.

    • What, what but? Has the class valedictorian earned the honor of making a speech at the commencement ceremony, or has he earned the honor of reading the approved speech of the school administrators?

      He’s earned whatever bauble the school district wishes to confer on the valedictorian. Which, in this case, would appear not to include exploiting the ceremony to critique the principal. The principal may be worthless bureaucratic trash, but there’s a time and a place to make that case.

      • The principal may be worthless bureaucratic trash, but there’s a time and a place to make that case.

        Like at a school board meeting where parents are given 5 minutes to speak and then nothing changes with the exception of how your child is treated by faculty at school because their parent had the audacity to challenge the administrators. Yes, we know how these bureaucracies weaponize their positions. Or ballot boxes, got it. So when it comes time to make the case, damn right I’m going to applaud the student who will articulate the failings of the institution he or she just graduated from.

        • You’ve got the idea in your head that the ceremony is to be disfigured for others because you’re dissatisfied with Dean X. That’s self-centered tripe.

      • Here is the remainder of this young man’s speech that wasn’t allowed to be spoken at his graduation:

        Hopefully, for the sake of future students, more people of power within our school who do not do so already will begin to prioritize education itself as well as the empowering of students. Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area alumni. And I hope that every one of my classmates here today as well as myself will go on to do great things in this world and achieve true happiness and success. Thank you all for coming out to this great celebration here today.

        http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/06/21/valedictorians-rogue-speech-cut-off-by-principal-but-he-gets-to-finish-it-for-way-bigger-audience/?utm_content=buffer13938&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        • Hopefully, for the sake of future students, more people of power within our school who do not do so already will begin to prioritize education itself as well as the empowering of students. Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area alumni. And I hope that every one of my classmates here today as well as myself will go on to do great things in this world and achieve true happiness and success. Thank you all for coming out to this great celebration here today.

          ‘Empowering students’ is not a function of public education, ‘prioritize’ is a repulsive neologism, and under no circumstances will ‘every one’ (or more than a tiny minority) of students ‘go on to do great things’. No one needed to hear this young man’s pap.

  5. Around about 1980, a contemporary of mine offered an unadorned and unimprovable remark on student government: “if you can name 3 things the student council does, you’re probably on it”. Not sympathetic with this young man yapping about ‘leadership opportunities’. He should have picked a better diversion.

  6. I was 19 years old & an honor graduate in the U.S. Army Security Agency. Held a security clearance above top secret. I floored them with a speech “know how keep your mouth shut”. Waiting for orders & duty assignment 1 month. It was Sunday, I was walking on Army base & a limo pulled up. A guy said get in. It was the commanding general. He said, “your going to Fort Bragg”.

      • Yes. 5th Signal group, the largest in the world at Fort Bragg. And worked with MPI Provost Marshals, CID & 5th Special Forces. Like I said before, “keep your mouth shut”!!!

  7. As to including his comments in his presented prepared remarks, he served in the Student Government and as class president for 4 years. He knew the attitudes of the administrators. The only way he could get his message in his speech was the way he did it. Sometimes it’s necessary to take action and then apologize if necessary. Clearly, he was right, school administration doesn’t give a hoot what the students think. They prove, once again, that authoritarians have notoriously thin skin, they don’t like to be exposed. His thinking about leadership and authoritarianism and his willingness to take action make him the kind of leader the country needs.

    I’m not sure why JT thinks he should be a lawyer. There are many areas that could use his leadership and in a way that would benefit us all.

    • No. Sometimes it’s not “necessary to get your message out.” Sometimes you just STFU and go to the ceremony. Or not. If he wanted to protest something, how about he just stay home and not screw up the ceremony for everybody else. That is the trouble with you and IsaacB’s whole damn generation. You think you are a lot more important than you really are. You are a bunch of spoiled little drama queens, and by extension, you excuse the current generation’s drama-queenliness.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

        • No. I am mad about people thinking they have the right, nay the OBLIGATION, to constantly preach at other people, no matter what the situation. Like Meryl Streep, or the pretentious twits at Hamilton. Or like this twerpy little high school student, with his oh so important message about student government.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

            • No. Not really. “Comment sections” of blogs are made for preaching. And venting spleen and ranting, etc.

              Which is my point. There is a time and a place for everything. And a Graduation Ceremony is not the time or the place for masturbatory theatrics. Outside of flipping your own tassel. 🙂

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

        • Prairie Rose – it is important that certain students speak out for the others, because they will not. Those students are willing to absorb the punishment the school metes out, just to get their point across. These unsung heroes will lead the rest to a better school year.

  8. There was a time, not that long ago, when students, and youth in general were allowed to vent their spleen(s). A lot of venting was peripheral mumbo jumbo but enough venting was so relevant so as to bring us to this level of enlightenment we enjoy today. Regardless of whether or not one is conservative or liberal, the world is much better off now because of young people such as this valedictorian, Danny the Red, Danny O’Brian, David Ashcroft, etc. The paranoia of the administration is telling. There is the case of no balls and then there is the case of just plain fear. This principal is without balls, nothing but a stooge of a paranoid administration.

    • Oh My God! Exactly what did the protesting youth of your day accomplish besides a group tantrum in favor of sex, drugs, and rock and roll??? And an absolute orgy of “I want whatever I want and NOW!” The toxic Baby Boomers sold out a dozen future generations because they couldn’t grow up and learn to make choices. A Pox on the lot of you! A bunch of self-aggrandizing spoiled brats, IMHO.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  9. I have had the duty of having to monitor the student speeches before graduation. I have students go off script when they got up there, but just let them go with the flow. In this case the ego of the principal was hurt and he had to stop the student.

        • ouch. It was about 75 here during the day and at this time its 53 but your temperature now shows 103. Too much for me.

          • Darren – your body actually acclimates to the heat after a couple of years. Your blood thins and you learn to move from shady spot to shady spot. The downside is that 50 degrees seems like 50 below. 🙂

    • If a student says something stupid, it’s on him/her for life with classmates and families. The speech in this story was not profane, personal, or loud, and kept to the subject of school.
      The valedictorian should be shown some leeway. It was earned.
      School political furor is in inverse proportion to its importance.

      • Duke Woolworth – for most students graduation is a blur. The only thing I remember about graduation is the main speaker saying “None of you will remember what I say tonight.” That is as much of his speech as I remember. I do not remember who the valedictorian or salutatorian were, or their speeches. I remember the robes were wool and the temperature in the gym was over 100. Those are the memories of my graduation.

    • Agreed. It’s also only a *high school* commencement, the point of which is to honor and celebrate all of the graduates for their accomplishment. I don’t know if he did the honorable thing by including the remarks in the version he submitted for approval, that would have been the honorable course. If he just sprung it on the audience (and administration), it’s more of a self-aggrandizing stunt than a free speech issue.

    • Squeek,

      That was my thought too. The snowflake millennial had to make it about himself. Meryl Streep would be proud. I would also add, just what power does this kid think the school govt. should have? From what I remember 30 years ago in high school, the student body didn’t take the student govt. seriously and could’ve cared less about them. He’s not as important as he thinks he is.

    • Squeeky, I generally like your thoughts and temperment, but in this case you seemed to draw too deep a line. IMO education is supposed to teach our children independent thinking. Graduation is a time where the children move out into the world of more independence. Is this the time to squash such thinking? It’s a tough line to draw and one that responsible principals have to draw at times, but in this case I don’t think the speaker was saying anything that necessitated the principal’s actions.

      • But the ceremony is not about the valedictorian. All those people in the audience didn’t come there to watch the valedictorian get an award. This is a once in a lifetime thing for the graduate and their family. Just like a wedding. Or a funeral. They came to watch their own little Oswalds and Gertrudes get their diploma. The only people who are there for the valedictorian are the valedictorian’s family, and they would have been there even if their spawn had not been the valedictorian. Because it’s a graduation ceremony.

        There’s a time and a place for everything, and not every time and every place is appropriate for some sort of solipsistic political oratory. That is what’s wrong with the Westboro Baptist Church. People go to the graveyard to bury the dead soldier, not listen to a political message, good or bad.

        So yeah, I think it is time to squash such thinking. Because the kid needs to learn, the whole world ain’t about him.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        • Squeeky – for his or her very hard academic work the student made it to valedictorian and part of the prize is giving a speech to their peers, teachers, staff and parents. No better audience for this kid to make his point. As fast as they got the mike unplugged, I think the principal either has had this happen to him before or he was nervous about this kid to begin with.

          • Yes, and every school has their own rules about the speech. This school required a copy of the speech IN ADVANCE for the very purpose of making sure the stupid kid didn’t screw up the Graduation Ceremony for the rest of the group. BUT, the self-important little twit decided to go off script, because you know somebody just has to speak up for student government, and who better than some little 18 year old, whom the adults in society have decided is too frigging immature to even drink alcohol legally for another three years.

            No. I think I am right about this one. Too bad they can’t paddle someone who has graduated, and put them in weekend detention for a month or so.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            • Squeeky – it is amazing how much more 18-year-olds know than principals. And the reason they want the script in advance is because they want to make sure the kid does not say anything that offends anyone. In this case, the kid had to go off script to get a point across.

              We will have to agree to disagree. 🙂

            • Squeeky – it is amazing how much more 18-year-olds know than principals. And the reason they want the script in advance is because they want to make sure the kid does not say anything that offends anyone. In this case, the kid had to go off script to get a point across.

              We will have to agree to disagree. 🙂

        • Squeeky, I understand where you are coming from, but he was speaking for the entire class and this statement “prevents students from developing as true leaders. ” was right on target. He didn’t seem to abuse his role. If we expect teenagers to toe the exact line set for them they can lose that extra edge.

          I spoke at length to a Japanese professor at one of the universities many years ago and though she stated the Japanese children entering the university had more raw knowledge she felt they lacked the innovation seen in the American students. Innovation can be lost with such restrictions. Addmittedly there are limits so it is a difficult line to draw.

          One point that wasn’t raised was the atmosphere of previous events and what was happening in that school. If the students had been previously abusive then I might understand the principal’s actions.

          • I don’t care who he was speaking for. He could have been speaking for any number of groups, much more deserving of attention than spoiled high school students who feel deprived of a vibrant student government experience. Hungry kids, victims of sexual abuse, the mentally retarded, whatever. And it still would have been out of place, because people did not come to the graduation ceremony to listen to some stupid kid whine about student government. They came there to watch their kids graduate.

            Every event in human life is not an open invitation for some aggrieved person to hop up on the soapbox and pontificate about whatever is chapping their a$$ at the moment. What if you have a daughter, and she is getting married, and when the preacher asks if anybody objects, let them speak or STFU forever— what if some clown stands up and gives a 10 minute whine about “How can we all eat wedding cake in a few minutes, when there are hungry kids in Venezuela???

            And then, when he finishes, a PETA supporter stands up and makes a 10 minute speech about the poor dead chickens from last night’s wedding rehearsal dinner, and then a hunter stands up to speak for gun rights, and the right to shoot chickens?

            You see, it’s just not the place for it. Let the kid get on social media, and spread his message, and go hop on a soapbox in the park the next day. Then, whoever gives a hoot about whatever he is whining about can go listen. That is why the school pre-approved the speech, so everybody in the audience wouldn’t have to suffer through some obnoxious little goober’s version of Mein Kampf. This was nothing but narcissism run amok.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            • Every event in human life is not an open invitation for some aggrieved person to hop up on the soapbox and pontificate about whatever is chapping their a$$ at the moment.

              Legal blogs excluded? 😉

            • Squeeky, I guess we disagree more than I thought. It almost sounds as if you don’t want any ceremony at the graduation. Fortunately, no one is forced to attend. What do you think is an appropriate graduation ceremony if any? Do you believe that a student should have the right to the podium at such an event? Additionally do you actually believe all the students of that school were spoiled? ( “spoiled high school students “) I don’t recall the article saying the students were all spoiled.

              The valedictorian is chosen to speak because of his academic achievements that all students were working towards. What do you have against valedictorian’s speaking?

              • No, I don’t think we totally disagree. You are just more comfortable with the speaker winging it instead of sticking to his proffered speech. I could care less what the school’s policy is. BUT if the rules are that “winging it” is taboo, then winging it is taboo.

                I don’t think the speaker has cosmic free speech “rights” at the ceremony, to where he can disregard the rules because he feels like it. This is a ceremony where everybody probably has to wear the same color and style of gown, and Pomp and Circumstance gets played to the point that everybody’s reindeer is flying backwards. In other words, it is a scripted affair. There are rules of behavior. And high school graduations are not free speech zones. Part of what this young man needs to learn is, to follow the rules.

                And I do think it is a complete exercise in narcissism, to rail against a “lack of empowerment” in high school. What’s next, recruits are going to rail against a lack of empowerment in boot camp or something? And yes, I think if your b*tch in life is, that student government doesn’t have any real power, that you are pretty darn spoiled.

                Real life is not a stage for drama queens to emote, and if the cops pull you over and you blow .09, then you can’t argue that its unfair, and wah wah wah. Civilization is an artificial construct, and it is a thin veneer over animal desires. It only works with rules.

                Squeeky Fromm
                Girl Reporter

                • “You are just more comfortable with the speaker winging it instead of sticking to his proffered speech. ”

                  No. The speaker didn’t wing it. He said something that was carefully thought out and on behalf of the students at that school. He provided his opinion and probably the opinion of most students. There is nothing wrong with respectfully speaking out (he wasn’t lecturing or dwelling) which is something that is a part of being a caring and productive individual. Too many have a tendency to keep their mouths closed and that is not good for society.

                  There is no such thing as absolute free speech anywhere, but that doesn’t mean that a principal should totally control speech. The principal could be toxic and that means keeping one’s mouth shut is bad for everyone. That line I talked about isn’t perfectly straight. It appears to me the student didn’t do anything wrong and the principal seemed a little dictatorial (unless his actions were based on prior problems).

                  You keep calling the speaker narcissistic, but I didn’t see narcissism in what the speaker said. Can you quote the narcissistic passage? You call the speaker a drama queen, but based upon what he said and another reported was the rest of the speech I don’t see how one could consider him a drama queen. I believe you are generalizing too much and being too literal in your interpretation of what a teenager should act like. I understand all about civilization and the need for rules, but I think you have gone a bit too far.

                  Assuming you have children, did you teach your children to read every rule literally or did you teach them to think about what the rule was intended to do and why?

                  • As I said before, there are all kinds of things a person could reasonably gripe about. But NOT at the Graduation Ceremony. I don’t care if the kid is thoughtful, or whether his gripes are legitimate or not, because that is simply not relevant to where we was when he decided to spout off.

                    And yes, he is a drama queen, because he decided to make the Graduation ceremony all about him, and his wants and desires. And no, I don’t have kids, and do not intend to at this time. Although I do have these fears about my biological clock going off and driving me nuts or something. Which I hope does not happen. But if I did have them, I would encourage them to both think, and try to follow the rules.

                    Which this kid flopped at the “following the rules” bit. I hope that goes in his permanent record. Whatever a permanent record is.

                    Squeeky Fromm
                    Girl Reporter

                    • Why not make that statement at the graduation ceremony where almost everyone is present? It was respectful, on topic and short. Why should students not have a voice? What makes this ceremony different than all other venues of speech? What the principal taught the children was ‘might makes right’ and ‘keep your mouth shut even if an obvious problem exists’.

                      Again you accuse the student of being a drama queen. What you say does not constitute a drama queen. What words did he use that suddenly took his words from being the words of a valedictorian into the words of a drama queen? Had those words been pre approved you would not be calling him a drama queen. In what way was he being melodramatic, the definition of a drama queen?

                      “ I hope that goes in his permanent record. ”

                      I would employ this kid at a much higher level than those who were more interested in protecting their records and were too scared to say something deemed important.

                      By the way, I’m not sure it was you or someone else who said That Mr. Turley might have used an intern in the Did Henry Kissinger Push Nixon To Assault Daniel Ellsberg? piece. I read that piece in disbelief and just posted something agreeing with that statement.

                    • @Allan

                      That was me. Normally, JT is very fair, and he bends over backwards to just stick to the facts. Sometimes, irritatingly so, But every so often there will be an article which seems out of place, and almost gratuitously and unreasonably anti-Trump, like the one today. Me and a few others think those are written by a helper. But who knows for sure?

                      Back on the kid, even SCOTUS recognizes reasonable time and place limitations on free speech. Because someone exercising their rights, could do it in such a way to pester or disturb others. As I have said numerous times, a Graduation Ceremony is not the place for this as a general matter, and specifically, the school itself required advance screening of the speech.

                      While you keep trying to go behind the propriety of the speech, to the actual speech itself, I feel no such need because the speech at issue should never have been given. The kid broke the rules. Period. Doesn’t matter if the rules are good, bad, smart, stupid – – – whatever. The school has a right to set the rules, and the Graduation Ceremony is not the place to object to them.

                      If you went to see James Taylor, and I got up in the audience and started singing The Song to the Moon from Rusalka, would you want to discuss the relative merits of the song, or the fine points of my rendition? Or, would you simply say that I should not have been a drama queen stealing the limelight from Sweet Baby James? That’s just how simple the issue is.

                      Squeeky Fromm
                      Girl Reporter

                    • Squeeky – this kid is anything but a drama queen. It is not about him, but his fellow students. His comments were fact based (as proved by shutting off his mic) and relevant to them. The principal is a petty tyrant who proved himself in public. He and Joffrey could be a pair.

              • I know of Turley from what he has done and said off this list. This article in question sounded nothing like the Turley I know and respect. I think that such writing under his name is dangerous for his reputation as I now have to doubt the facts he brings to the table and worry about his intellectual honesty.

                Whose rules did the student break? What law was violated? Where did the student not adhere to community standards? Do you think arbitrary rules and regulations made by a tyrannical bureaucrat should always be adhered to? The principal works for the community and the student was addressing that community. You are conflating too many issues such as drama queen and spoiled students where you haven’t proven such contentions to be true. You haven’t responded to what an appropriate graduation consists of, etc. All you have said is that the student broke arbitrary rules created by a civil servant supposedly serving the community. That civil servant also has the right to make a rule that every student should be forced to walk around the school building one time before entering it and keep their mouths shut about it.

                • Whose rules did the student break? The Principal’s and therefore the school’s.

                  What law was violated? None. The rule was broken.

                  Where did the student not adhere to community standards? Who knows, and who cares? The Principal is given authority by the community, and he set the rule. Maybe it is a “school board” rule, to boot. Who knows.

                  Do you think arbitrary rules and regulations made by a tyrannical bureaucrat should always be adhered to? If you are a student in school, yes. Unless the rule threatens a physical harm to your safety. For example, if the Principal says “No fighting”, and someone attacks you, then—break the rule and defend yourself.

                  The principal works for the community and the student was addressing that community. Again, so what? The Principal has the authority, from the community, to set appropriate rules for behavior.

                  You are conflating too many issues such as drama queen and spoiled students where you haven’t proven such contentions to be true. True. These are my OPINIONS.

                  You haven’t responded to what an appropriate graduation consists of, etc. Whatever the Principal, or school systems thinks it should consist of. Most of the time, a band plays Pomp and Circumstance, the graduates wear goofy gowns and silly hats with tassels. Most of the time, the graduate’s name is called and the grad walks across the stage to get the diploma, while the family snaps pictures. Sometimes there is a commencement address, and sometimes a prayer and a few speeches. Afterwards, there may be fruit punch and cookies.

                  All you have said is that the student broke arbitrary rules created by a civil servant supposedly serving the community. True, I have said that. So what.

                  That civil servant also has the right to make a rule that every student should be forced to walk around the school building one time before entering it and keep their mouths shut about it. True, And if the Principal makes such a rule, then the kids should tell their parents when they get home, and are no longer on school property. Or, break the rule and take their chances with discipline.

                  I think I was pretty thorough that time! 🙂

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  • Rules never cease to be broken especially when they are arbitrary. Laws are a different subject. Don’t confuse laws with rules especially arbitrary ones. You didn’t answer the question which laws were violated. None. The student did his thing and the principal did his. The principal looks far worse when one reads what the student wrote and later said. In other words the student excelled in making his point. Bravo. The principal will look like a dunce to all too many.

                    “Where did the student not adhere to community standards? Who knows, and who cares?”

                    The principal is an administrator and community standards are all important for he is supposed to administer for the community. Are you telling me that community standards are unimportant?

                    You should be using quotes (“”) to denote what you are copying.

                    In answer to my question “Do you think arbitrary rules and regulations made by a tyrannical bureaucrat should always be adhered to?” you responded “If you are a student in school, yes.” That is a problem. You believe arbitrary rules trump community standards and all other human needs except when defending oneself. I don’t agree with your contention that eliminates the ability of another to think for himself.

                    “These are my OPINIONS.”

                    You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own definitions of words and data. There is a lot more in the graduation process then it seems you realize. It appears that you are more than willing to relinquish all power to one individual (dictator) for as long as that individual holds the power.

                • Allan,…
                  I think you should read JT’s column again.

                  On balance, it is sympathetic to the student, and written in the context of concerns about free speech limitaions.
                  It might satisfy you if JT had strongly condemned the principal who cut the mike.
                  But the right of the student to adlib in an address at a school function is not absolute.

                  • You are right tnash. When I wrote my reply to squeeky I inadvertantly copied a paragraph from a response to Turley’s remarks on Kissinger/ Nixon and Trump.

                    The following paragraph belongs there. “I know of Turley from what he has done…. worry about his intellectual honesty.” I will place it there now if it didn’t make it.

          • Oh, and one other thing. I understand where you are coming from vis a vis the Japanese and the way they train their kids, where “the nail that sticks up, must be hammered down.” And true, that can take the initiative out of people.

            But there is a danger in going too far the other way, to where your society unravels in an orgy of narcissism. All these SJW’s, who are shutting down Free Speech on campuses, operate from the same lack of respect for authority, and the same lack of respect for the rights of others as demonstrated by the kid in this article.

            And what exactly happens to the other kids in school, if he is given the opportunity to learn to be a leader??? Does that mean everybody else in school gets the opportunity to learn to be a follower??? That doesn’t seem fair to me. Heck, if he wants to be a “leader”, let him enlist in the military. Not Villanova Business School.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            • “But there is a danger in going too far the other way”

              That is why I said there was a deep line and I’ll admit that line is tricky, but your desire to remove any possible controversy goes too far unless absolute conformity is your desire.

              “All these SJW’s, who are shutting down Free Speech on campuses, operate from the same lack of respect for authority,”

              This is a completely different situation. The valedictorian was invited to speak which is traditional. The words spoken before the mike was cut had to do with a relevant school topic and appeared respectful. The valedictorian wasn’t inhibiting freedom of speech.

              Everyone has a chance to become valedictorian. He isn’t appointed as a leader rather he is the one person of the student body speaking unless you prefer a speech from every student or no student at all.

              • Allan, …
                One question raised in the column is whether Butera would have been allowed to make his statement if it had been reviewed and cleared by the school.
                We don’t know the history of the push for a student givernment with more power; the principal may have been a “control freak”, or the student may have had a history of aggresively challenging school administrators.
                If the principal had already been through the student’s objection to “the authoritative nature” of some school administrators and didn’t feel like being lectured by the valedictorian at the graduation ceremony, it puts a different light on why the principal cut off the mike.
                I don’t know how far the valedictorian would have gone after the “authoritarion nature” comment, but the principal may have had reason to believe that the kid was just getting warmed up.

    • He’s the valedictorian. He earned the privilege to give a speech at the ceremony. He should be allowed to say whatever he wants in that address.

      It is his belief based on four years experience in student government that the relationship between student government and the administration needs reform.

      Many parents are in the audience. They vote for school board members and air their grievances to the board. He used this platform to try to muster the political will to at least consider re-evaluating the relationship between the administration and the student government.

      I think it was a savvy political move.

    • They should cut the speeches. They vary between blah and dreadful. The minutes listening to them you’ll never get back. Have a spot of music, hand out a couple of awards, add a shout out to the retiring faculty and staff, and hand out the diplomas.

      • True. And pretty much nobody gives a crap what some pimple-faced, nerdy little twerp has to say anyway. My parents forced me to go to my graduation ceremony, because I had no desire whatsoever to be there, in those stupid gowns and that stupid little hat, surrounded by all the stupid people whose presence I had to endure for four years. By twelfth grade, really midway thru eleventh, I was sick of the whole mess, even cheerleading. But, I put on my brave face, and stuck it out., and finished what I started. Rah, Rah, Rah.

        Then, when it was over, I just wanted to flee the place with all possible haste. I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I had friends, and teachers I liked. But by and large, I had the feeling that I was trapped in a lunatic asylum, and the inmates weren’t dangerous, and didn’t come at you with knives, or anything like that. But they were lunatics, nonetheless, and whatever conversation you had with them was going to be of a lunatic nature, and absolutely drain the life out of you by its sheer, overwhelming banality. Did you know Megan broke up with Damion, because she found out Damion screwed Andrea when Megan was at the beach with her family??? Oh, and have you seen Derricks new C class his parents bought him??? It is sooo kewl with the moon roof….

        Arrrrrgh!

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        • Squeeky – at least you were hearing about Andrea getting screwed. I didn’t know about Andrea until she was at least 5 months pregnant and on the way to relatives in Nebraska until the baby was born and given away. I spent my time behind the school smoking and dodging teachers.

          • Then, the next week, or the next day, or even before the end of the school day, it was Andrea who cheated on Damion with Brick, who was on the rebound from his love of 2 weeks, Callie, who decided she di-ent like Brick drinking all the time because it made him mean. . . and blah blah blah. The problem is, when you hit your early 20’s and are hanging out at the bar with your friends, it’s the same old “who’s screwing who” blather all the time. Then, at your mid twenties, it’s the same thing. My goodness, but isn’t there something better to talk about, than that all the time. It’s as bad as all this perpetual political anguish stuff.

            I don’t want to be a human being any more. I want to be adopted by cat friendly aliens from some other Earth-like planet. Just one without people.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

              • No, actually it’s a pretty good day. Tropical Storm Cindy is headed our way, and we are supposed to have several days of rainy weather. Which means I can curl up with a good book for a few days, and listen to the rain hitting the roof. Assuming there are no new clients coming into Penelope’s office, or she doesn’t have a lot of papers to prepare.

                Plus, my crazy uncle just called and said he ordered me a cheap Soviet-era guitar from Czechoslovakia so I have that to look forward to.

                For me, it isn’t so much that high school was crap, but that pretty much everything in life is crap, and high school was just a part of that. To me, hardly anything makes any sense, and people, who are supposed to be reasonable creatures, are usually just emotional messes, with malice.

                To be happy, you have to look for as many crap-free zones, and crap-free activities you can find. Like time with your family and friends and animals and nature and swimming pools and books and guitars and art and music and good foods. And jolly stuff like this:

                Squeeky Fromm
                Girl Reporter

                • “To me, hardly anything makes any sense, and people, who are supposed to be reasonable creatures, are usually just emotional messes, with malice.” — Squeeky

                  Ignoring the unreasonableness and malice inherent in her own posts.

            • Great truth there, Squeeky. I liked high school ’cause I got to run with the jock crowd and we spent our hours musing about sports, girls and who had the best car/shotgun/bird dog/girlfriend. Pretty much in that order. Plus, I got a masters level class in small group dynamics to which I credit any success I now enjoy. I did like taking on the power structure occasionally like the SGA ( they made me President for it); the cheerleaders ( my folly in sticking up for the nerdy guy over the flowing-haired vixen who wanted to be Treasurer. The gals came gunning for me in study hall after their collect e victory and that nerd ended up being the marine officer who flooded the gun turret and saved the USS Iowa) and the PE coaches who liked to pit jocks against nerds in power dodge ball with predictable results. (I shamed the coaches into a jock vs. PE coaches dodge ball game — it wasn’t pretty for them but maybe cathartic). All in all I liked high school, because I figured out is was really a preview of coming attractions. And, I got to mete out a little natural justice along the way.

        • Yes, secondary schools are humbug. Where I’m from, about 11% of the manpower is devoted to teaching vo-tech, at least one school district was making use of the vo-tech high school as a dumping ground for incorrigibles, the time of students is frittered away on half-assed liberal education which is unfocused in the present tense and unfocused over time, the term schedule is derived from agricultural cycles (even though < 2% of the workforce farms) and ordered in such a way that much of the time is taken up with review of what these youths have forgotten over the summer. Then there's the gratuitous use of tax-funded public agencies to provide a fee-for-service activity, the diversion of resources to fund athletic clubs organized by public employees, the wretched teacher training programs, and the bizarre working hours and compensation schemes which have employees on leave 25% of the time, make it quite costly to attempt a career change after a certain run of years, and which have bourgeois office employees retiring at 59. (That's the median, btw). The disciplinary standards are designed by knuckleheads and malevolent lawyers.

          And, of course, you pool youngsters for four years and set them to a portfolio of unserious tasks, you have a social organism wherein the vices of adolescent youth spill all over the place.

          • True. And they spend an inordinate amount of time trying to teach the Quadratic Equation to nincompoops who can’t count change out of a twenty without messing up. I listened to an interview with Hugh Laurie the other day that is on the Live On The Queen Mary dvd. He expressed how much he hated his piano teacher, because she made him hate playing the piano for so many years.

            It’s not just piano teachers. Teachers can make people hate school, and hate the very subject that they are studying. For example, poetry should be fun. English Literature should be fun, and History, and science. But a significant number of kids hate the stuff and can’t wait to get out of class and get out of school. It’s not all the “system’s” fault, but a good part of it is.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

  10. Students should not listen to the jerks who run the place until they apologize and change policies.
    Students should go to the goat fields and obtain some goat feces and name them Pollards. These can be thrown.

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