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Graduating high school is quite the life milestone, and nothing could ruin the big day like being denied a diploma.
But after completing her four years with a brilliant 4.0 GPA, that's exactly what happened to one valedictorian from Prague, Oklahoma.
Kaitlin Nootbaar offended her school's administration when she uttered the word “hell” during her class speech. Because of that four-letter-word, Prague High School Principal David Smith is refusing to hand over her diploma until she issues a public apology.
Not gonna happen, says Nootbaar. According to her, this has been “a lesson to always stand your ground.” And she's not the only one who feels that way; the Today Show recently did a viewer poll in which 88 percent of the respondents supported her decision.
The context of the offending word was in answer to the question of what graduates wanted to do with the rest of their lives. She initially penned the answer, “Who the heck knows?” in the speech (which was approved by school staff), but during the actual speech, she replaced it with hell.
Her father, David Nootbaar is supportive of his daughter telling reporters, “I wanted her to stand her ground. I’m a veteran, and I feel she has freedom of speech… it’s in her First Amendment rights, and why should she bend down to this man and give those rights away?”
Kaitlin, who has a full-ride to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, says she was inspired by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in which the graduation speaker answers the same question with the response, who the hell knows? She said she had the full support of her classmates.
Not everyone is on her side, though. The Prague Oklahoma School District Superintendent, Rick Martin, has sided with the principal and says that until an apology is issued, she will not get her diploma. Kaitlin responded, “The fact is all the diploma really signifies are my achievements, and I know what I’ve achieved.”
What do you think? Should Nootbaar apologize for what she said?