Joshua, TX — High school valedictorian Remington Reimer was abruptly silenced when he began talking about freedom of speech in his commencement address.
Reimer — who is reportedly headed to the US Naval Academy — was another mega-achiever who departed from his prepared, pre-approved remarks during graduation ceremonies this month.
Reportedly nicknamed “Spock” for his superior intelligence, Reimer began his speech by thanking his parents and teachers and saying “I’m honored to stand before you today as the Valedictorian of 2013 … Most people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile.”
The Joshua High School senior added: “I worked hard to earn the right to address you all tonight as valedictorian, and have a constitutional right, like any of you, to freely speak about the factors that … Yesterday I was threatened to have my mic turn off …” and with that his mic went dead.
Reportedly he also mentioned his faith in God before the microphone was shut down by school officials on Thursday evening during the commencement, but the religion-related comments don’t show up in the video (see embed below).
Reimer then continued his address although most of the audience was unable to hear him.
The school superintendent subsequently issued the following statement about this incident: “The District has reviewed the rules and policy regarding graduation speech, and it has been determined that policy was followed at the Joshua High School 2013 Graduation Ceremony. The valedictorian, salutatorian, and class historian speeches were reviewed in advance by the campus staff, prior to the graduation ceremony. Student speakers were told that if their speeches deviated from the prior-reviewed material, the microphone would be turned off, regardless of content. When one student’s speech deviated from the prior-reviewed speech, the microphone was turned off, pursuant to District policy and procedure.”
According to a local newspaper, this is the text of Reimer’s address as the mic was cut off: “We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be if I veer away from the school-censored speech I have just finished. Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who tried to silence him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me. And I urge you all to do the same. Do not let anyone take away your religious or Constitutional rights from you.”
In a similar event a week ago Saturday at the Liberty High School graduation in South Carolina, valedictorian Roy Costner IV scrapped his prepared, officially approved speech at graduation and recited the Lord’s prayer instead to the wild applause and cheering by the student body. The video of this event went viral.
Do you think the school district has a right to monitor student speeches to this degree? Watch these local news reports about the Remington Reimer microphone cut off and decide for yourself.
[top image via Shutterstock]