There are many freedoms in this country. An important one is the freedom of speech.
Yes, while we should be able to say what we feel when we feel like it, that is not always the case. Sometimes people have to watch what he or she might say due to possible consequences.
Situations where freedom of speech is used to bring awareness about an issue or even to condemn injustice is often acceptable. At least this is the case until someone opposes the view. They have the freedom to do so.
A recent Oklahoma high school graduate was denied her diploma because she used the word, “hell” in a commencement speech. You read right. She was making a reference to not knowing what she would do when she graduated–something many students are asked as they prepare to graduate.
Specifically, she said, “How the hell am I supposed to know?, according to a recent news article. The teen was inspired by a similar speech given in the one of the famous Twilight film installments.
Her diploma is being held until she issues an apology to her school. Apparently, in the original version she submitted to school officials, “heck” was written versus what actually came out of the young girl’s mouth.
Some teens and adults use much harsher profane language in everyday speech. When considering all the other profane language this student could have used, her word choice doesn’t seem that bad. There are songs on the radio that are more offensive. Really. However, the response from the school is more about the time and place she chose to use this sort of language. To some, it was clearly inappropriate. Others might disagree.
She graduated with a 4.0 G.P.A. She was her school’s valedictorian. This language wasn’t expected from her even though she used it to provide emphasis on a point. Both she and her family are upset at the school’s response. It is understandable.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The law is clear. And so are the consequences that might result. What the situation reiterates is that freedoms don’t come without a price. We should all remember this. Another lesson that surfaces within this incident is just how fast one’s perception of another person can change. Choose your words carefully.