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I found this in The Star Ledger Friday, August 31. I am curious as to what people think about it.

By Brian Newsome

Colorado Springs, CO.

- A 2006 Colorado high school graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., in May 2006. Although students' 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.

''We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.''

Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ''refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech'' and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ''treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.''

Robin Adair, the district's spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages left Wednesday evening. Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette to Adair. Adair said:''The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

'Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.’ While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. ‘Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.''

Corder, now 19 and a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, said Wednesday, ''The main reason I did this is just because I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong. ''Her father, Steven, said that the lawsuit was a last resort. Steven and Thea Corder had asked the district to retract the disciplinary actions against Erica and adopt policies to protect student speech and eliminate confusion.

''Really, our hope is that any valedictorian would know clearly that they can speak about what is important to them,'' Steven Corder said. ''It's really so that the Constitution can be turned to as the governing document in this type of situation. ''The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, which specializes in cases involving religious freedom. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

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I found this in The Star Ledger Friday, August 31. I am curious as to what people think about it.

By Brian Newsome

Colorado Springs, CO.

- A 2006 Colorado high school graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., in May 2006. Although students' 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.

''We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.''

Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ''refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech'' and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ''treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.''

Robin Adair, the district's spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages left Wednesday evening. Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette to Adair. Adair said:''The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

'Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.’ While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. ‘Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.''

Corder, now 19 and a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, said Wednesday, ''The main reason I did this is just because I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong. ''Her father, Steven, said that the lawsuit was a last resort. Steven and Thea Corder had asked the district to retract the disciplinary actions against Erica and adopt policies to protect student speech and eliminate confusion.

''Really, our hope is that any valedictorian would know clearly that they can speak about what is important to them,'' Steven Corder said. ''It's really so that the Constitution can be turned to as the governing document in this type of situation. ''The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, which specializes in cases involving religious freedom. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

It's a fascinating story. I was going to post it if Matt didn't. It raises enough legal issues to be an excellent question for a law school or bar exam.

In reading the story, a number of issues jump out at me:

1. Does the school have a right to approve or veto the content of a student's valedictory address?

2. If so, may the school veto content because it is of a religious nature? Or because it would likely be offensive to some people? Or because it is divisive along religious lines? Or because it amounts to proselytizing or evangelizing? Or because it is not in keeping with the purposes of the graduation ceremony? Or for some other reason? Precisely where should the line be drawn, and why?

3. It's not the issue legally, but did the student exercise good judgment?

4. Did the school have any right to withhold the student's diploma?

5. Can the school insist that the student apologize?

6. Because the student had already earned her diploma, and the school's control over her (in any way) ended at this very commencement exercise, is there any punishment it can legally enforce?

7. Would it make a difference if this student had been an atheist and had told the audience that that there is no god and that all theologies are false and harmful? If so, why?

8. Does it make a difference that the student made her remarks personal to her audience, not just personal to herself? Why or why not?

Finally, there are a great many factual gaps in the story. What additional facts would you like to know before answering one or more of the above questions?

I hope we'll have a serious and respectful dialogue and discussion this time.

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I found this in The Star Ledger Friday, August 31. I am curious as to what people think about it.

By Brian Newsome

Colorado Springs, CO.

- A 2006 Colorado high school graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., in May 2006. Although students' 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.

''We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.''

Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ''refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech'' and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ''treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.''

Robin Adair, the district's spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages left Wednesday evening. Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette to Adair. Adair said:''The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

'Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.’ While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. ‘Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.''

Corder, now 19 and a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, said Wednesday, ''The main reason I did this is just because I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong. ''Her father, Steven, said that the lawsuit was a last resort. Steven and Thea Corder had asked the district to retract the disciplinary actions against Erica and adopt policies to protect student speech and eliminate confusion.

''Really, our hope is that any valedictorian would know clearly that they can speak about what is important to them,'' Steven Corder said. ''It's really so that the Constitution can be turned to as the governing document in this type of situation. ''The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, which specializes in cases involving religious freedom. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

I love the way the extremist fundies twisted this one. Erica was dishonest when she presented her speech to the principal and then snuck a different one in, one that she knew beforehand would have not been approved. Thanking Jeebus or anyone else is okay but proselytizing is not.

One wonders why it took them over a year to come up with the suit.

Erica said she issued the apology because she was afraid that it would hurt her chances of getting into college. Doesn't it seem odd that a graduating senior does not know by graduation what schools have accepted her application?

She was also dishonest, then, when she issued her apology. Instead of standing up for her principles she lied. What a testament to her faith. (I don't want to read people saying she was confused or frightened. Her own statements belie that.)

Her parents said they sued because they wanted the school board to "adopt policies that protect student speech and elimidate confusion." There was no confusion. She knew what she was doing was wrong.

Another interesting piece of information that was not reported in the story is the fact that her father, Steve, works for Focus on the Family, Dobson's gang of fascists.

Extremist fundies will do anything to advance their agenda. Shame!

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Looks like she has a solid case to me, A Valedictorian's speach is supposed to be about what Motivated him/her to excell to that point, and what is important to the student. The School violated the First Ammendment here IMO...

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I found this in The Star Ledger Friday, August 31. I am curious as to what people think about it.

By Brian Newsome

Colorado Springs, CO.

- A 2006 Colorado high school graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., in May 2006. Although students' 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.

''We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.''

Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ''refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech'' and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ''treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.''

Robin Adair, the district's spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages left Wednesday evening. Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette to Adair. Adair said:''The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

'Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.’ While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. ‘Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.''

Corder, now 19 and a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, said Wednesday, ''The main reason I did this is just because I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong. ''Her father, Steven, said that the lawsuit was a last resort. Steven and Thea Corder had asked the district to retract the disciplinary actions against Erica and adopt policies to protect student speech and eliminate confusion.

''Really, our hope is that any valedictorian would know clearly that they can speak about what is important to them,'' Steven Corder said. ''It's really so that the Constitution can be turned to as the governing document in this type of situation. ''The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, which specializes in cases involving religious freedom. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

I am curious as to what you think about it.

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I found this in The Star Ledger Friday, August 31. I am curious as to what people think about it.

By Brian Newsome

Colorado Springs, CO.

- A 2006 Colorado high school graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., in May 2006. Although students' 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.

''We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.''

Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ''refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech'' and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ''treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.''

Robin Adair, the district's spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages left Wednesday evening. Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette to Adair. Adair said:''The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

'Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.’ While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. ‘Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.''

Corder, now 19 and a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, said Wednesday, ''The main reason I did this is just because I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong. ''Her father, Steven, said that the lawsuit was a last resort. Steven and Thea Corder had asked the district to retract the disciplinary actions against Erica and adopt policies to protect student speech and eliminate confusion.

''Really, our hope is that any valedictorian would know clearly that they can speak about what is important to them,'' Steven Corder said. ''It's really so that the Constitution can be turned to as the governing document in this type of situation. ''The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, which specializes in cases involving religious freedom. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

You would be happy living in Colorado, it's a haven for secular loonys.

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Looks like she has a solid case to me, A Valedictorian's speach is supposed to be about what Motivated him/her to excell to that point, and what is important to the student.  The School violated the First Ammendment here IMO...

It looked like that to me at first, too. My first reaction was outrage that the school had tried to punish a student for speaking. In addition, I don't see how they can deny issuing her diploma, but she is also suing for damages apparently. For what? She might be able to make that argument if the school had prevented her from speaking, but in fact she said what she wanted to say even after in effect committing that she would not. So how was she shut down and what are her damages? How can a person sue for infringement on a speech that everyone in the intended audience already heard?

In addition, she appears to have used her entire 30 seconds to proselytize, contrary to what she obviously told the school she would do. How was she harmed, apart from the non-receipt of her diploma, which apparently didn't stop her from getting into to Wheaton College in Illinois? In the law, there's no point to a suit unless the plaintiff has a remedy. What is her remedy? All the article says is that she is seeking unspecified damages. For what? After the student is already out of school, what effect can "disciplinary action" by the school have? Does she even have legal standing at this point? I'm not at all sure she does.

When I first read the article I was outraged that the school had shut her down. Then after I thought about it I began to see other issues. What really changed things for me was that (1) she had sneaked the additional language in after having the speech approved without it and (2) she wasn't just speaking for her own religious experience, she was proselytizing.

When I was valedictorian of my high school class, our class adviser looked at and approved my address. I was expected to stick to it. When the school offers a vehicle like that for the student to speak, is the student obligated as a matter of quid pro quo to stick to content areas relevant to the education that made a valedictory address possible in the first place? What is the punishment for a violation? What if a student wanted to use the valedictory address to advertise her father's local plumbing business or the x-rated movie theatre he owns? Would that be OK, too? If that wouldn't be OK, but what this young woman actually did was OK, why is the one OK but not the other? The Corders' claim is that religious speech is being singled out, but that's not necessarily true if promotion of secular things like a parent's business enterprise wouldn't be permitted either.

Does the school have the right to approve content? In particular, does the school have the right to insist that valedictory addresses be related to the education provided by the public schools? Do audience members have a legitimate right not to be proselytized or evangelized? What about the apparent deception? What about the divisiveness inherent in this kind of address? If in fact this young woman is the daughter of a right wing religious fundamentalist, does it make her motives obvious, and was this a deliberate deception?

How does all of that relate to the punishment, i.e., withholding her diploma temporarily? What additional facts would you like to know, if any, before deciding whether she is entitled to a remedy, and why she is entitled to it?

These are the kinds of questions that will be asked if and when this case is judicially decided.

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It's a fascinating story. I was going to post it if Matt didn't. It raises enough legal issues to be an excellent question for a law school or bar exam.

lol, let me know if I'd pass if you can, Paul. :huh:

In reading the story, a number of issues jump out at me:

1. Does the school have a right to approve or veto the content of a student's valedictory address?

I think it does, but not in an absolute way, like where they could just say "no" to an address just because (in the way that a President can veto something without giving a reason). Stuff like proselytizing, hate speech, stuff like that, I think the school has every right to reject a speech with one of those things in it--basically when it crosses a civil rights or criminal line.

2. If so, may the school veto content because it is of a religious nature? Or because it would likely be offensive to some people?

Yes with a caveat (see below), and no. Example: boasting about one's grades or the fact that one is valedictorian would very "likely be offensive to some (probably more than some) people," but I don't think it's grounds for totally canning a speech.

Or because it is divisive along religious lines? Or because it amounts to proselytizing or evangelizing?

Here's the caveat from above. If the religious content goes this far, then I think yes. The former sounds homologous to 'endorsement,' and I think the latter speaks for itself.

Or because it is not in keeping with the purposes of the graduation ceremony? Or for some other reason? Precisely where should the line be drawn, and why?

I pretty much answered this already above.

3. It's not the issue legally, but did the student exercise good judgment?

It's ironic that the only person who really gets the opportunity to make a 'mistake' like this student did, is the one (valedictorian) people would least expect to make it. No, I don't see any good judgment here, not only with the speech itself, but with the deliberate withholding of it beforehand, which reminds me of Paszkiewicz lying at the Somma meeting--both actions that clearly show that the person knows they are going to do/doing something wrong.

4. Did the school have any right to withhold the student's diploma?

I was originally going to say "yes," but now that I think of it...the kids have already graduated by this time, so now it's like taking something from her that is hers, isn't it?

5. Can the school insist that the student apologize?

I think that the school can insist on a public retraction based on the Constitutional violation (if nothing else), but such a retraction couldn't really be forced to be apologetic, I suppose...technically speaking.

6. Because the student had already earned her diploma, and the school's control over her (in any way) ended at this very commencement exercise, is there any punishment it can legally enforce?

I think so--my reasoning is imagining someone doing something similar on their last day at a civil job. I don't think they would be allowed to get away with whatever just because after that, the employer has no control over that person.

7. Would it make a difference if this student had been an atheist and had told the audience that that there is no god and that all theologies are false and harmful? If so, why?

Well, I think everything but the last part (one can actually demonstrate whether theology X is harmful or not) is, taken most literally, dogmatic and parallel to theistic proselytizing (although one can say "there is no god" in the same way they'd say "I won't win the lottery," if you know what I mean).

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8. Does it make a difference that the student made her remarks personal to her audience, not just personal to herself? Why or why not?

No, I don't really think that matters very much--that pretty much sounds like the difference between endorsement ("to herself"), and proselytizing ("to her audience"), and both are wrong, so...

Finally, there are a great many factual gaps in the story. What additional facts would you like to know before answering one or more of the above questions?

The thing that really jumped out at me was "unspecified damages." I don't know about you, but that always throws up red flags in my mind.

I hope we'll have a serious and respectful dialogue and discussion this time.

Same here.

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I love the way the extremist fundies twisted this one.  Erica was dishonest when she presented her speech to the principal and then snuck a different one in, one that she knew beforehand would have not been approved.  Thanking Jeebus or anyone else is okay but proselytizing is not. 

One wonders why it took them over a year to come up with the suit. 

Erica said she issued the apology because she was afraid that it would hurt her chances of getting into college.  Doesn't it seem odd that a graduating senior does not know by graduation what schools have accepted her application?

She was also dishonest, then, when she issued her apology.  Instead of standing up for her principles she lied.  What a testament to her faith. (I don't want to read people saying she was confused or frightened.  Her own statements belie that.)

Her parents said they sued because they wanted the school board to "adopt policies that protect student speech and elimidate confusion."  There was no confusion.  She knew what she was doing was wrong.

Another interesting piece of information that was not reported in the story is the fact that her father, Steve, works for Focus on the Family, Dobson's gang of fascists.

Extremist fundies will do anything to advance their agenda.  Shame!

Typical LoonyLeft logic. It was OK to sneak a recorder into a classroom and record a teacher without him being aware of it, BUT, it was dishonest of Erica to speak her heart and mind in her speech that she earned the right to give.

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You would be happy living in Colorado, it's a haven for secular loonys.

WRONGO as usual, 2dim. Colorado is, on the contrary, a conservative state that is well-known as a center for conservative Christianity. Focus on the Family, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and more than 100 other evangelical Christian organizations are headquartered there.

In fact, Colorado Springs is sometimes called the "Vatican of evangelical Christianity".

Leigh

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lol, let me know if I'd pass, Paul. B)

I think it does, but not in an absolute way, like where they could just say "no" to an address just because (in the way that a President can veto something without giving a reason). Stuff like proselytizing, hate speech, stuff like that, I think the school has every right to reject a speech with one of those things in it--basically when it crosses a civil rights or criminal line.

Yes with a caveat (see below), and no. Example: boasting about one's grades or the fact that one is valedictorian would very "likely be offensive to some (probably more than some) people," but I don't think it's grounds for totally canning a speech.

Here's the caveat from above. If the religious content goes this far, then I think yes. The former sounds homologous to 'endorsement,' and I think the latter speaks for itself.

I pretty much answered this already above.

It's ironic that the only person who really gets the opportunity to make a 'mistake' like this student did, is the one (valedictorian) people would least expect to make it. No, I don't see any good judgment here, not only with the speech itself, but with the deliberate withholding of it beforehand, which reminds me of Paszkiewicz lying at the Somma meeting--both actions that clearly show that the person knows they are going to do/doing something wrong.

I was originally going to say "yes," but now that I think of it...the kids have already graduated by this time, so now it's like taking something from her that is hers, isn't it?

I think that the school can insist on a public retraction based on the Constitutional violation (if nothing else), but such a retraction couldn't really be forced to be apologetic, I suppose...technically speaking.

I think so--my reasoning is imagining someone doing something similar on their last day at a civil job. I don't think they would be allowed to get away with whatever just because after that, the employer has no control over that person.

Well, I think everything but the last part (one can actually demonstrate whether theology X is harmful or not) is, taken most literally, dogmatic and parallel to theistic proselytizing (although one can say "there is no god" in the same way they'd say "I won't win the lottery," if you know what I mean).

Strife, you're not ready for the final exam yet, but you have the potential and a solid legal mind as I've told you before. You're making a couple fundamental mistakes, the most glaring of which is that the student is not a state actor. Rethink your comments in that regard. Then think about the question: along what lines can the school restrict speech? We know that they can't single out religion qua religion, so what can they do, and why might they want to do it? Think also about the question of not having a set policy in place when something like this happens.

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Typical LoonyLeft logic.  It was OK  to sneak a recorder into a classroom and record a teacher without him being aware of it, BUT, it was dishonest of Erica to speak her heart and mind in her speech that she earned the right to give.

Of course it was dishonest of her. She rehearsed a completely different 30-second presentation to the administrators, and was part of a group of fifteen who were in essence speaking as one. By going off on her own, she not only lied about what she was going to do; she also departed from what the school had in mind (and its purposes in holding the exercise in the first place), and diminished the ceremony for some of her classmates who were expecting her to speak on their common goals as graduates of that school. Erica didn't earn a private right to a platform for her personal views. She earned the honor of being allowed to speak as a representative of her class. In so doing, she had an obligation, which she completely cast aside in favor of her personal and obviously divisive agenda.

By contrast, Matthew took control of a situation where a violation was going on and had been going on for a long time. He did so because no one else was taking control of it, and obviously no one had taken control of it for the many years Paszkiewicz had been teaching. Matt took that situation in hand and addressed it in the most effective possible way, by preserving the evidence so the liars couldn't get away with their lies. The fact that it wasn't popular with students or administrators only points up the fact that they hadn't been doing their jobs. You can try to spin it another way, but the only way you can do it is to overlook that Paszkiewicz was violating the US Constitution. Account for that fact in your spin job and see where it puts you. You won't, because you can't. I'll wager you don't even know how.

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Guest 2smart4u
WRONGO as usual, 2dim.  Colorado is, on the contrary, a conservative state that is well-known as a center for conservative Christianity.  Focus on the Family, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and more than 100 other evangelical Christian organizations are headquartered there.

In fact, Colorado Springs is sometimes called the "Vatican of evangelical Christianity".

Leigh

Only in your Kool-aid dreams, a large segment of colorado is considered secular progressive.

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I think that the school can insist on a public retraction based on the Constitutional violation (if nothing else), but such a retraction couldn't really be forced to be apologetic, I suppose...technically speaking.

I think the Constitution would favor the student, not the school. The student is not a government employee, and the school did not incite the proselytizing. The school may have a legitimate basis for their action based solely on her having broken a rule, but not because of the religious content.

4. Did the school have any right to withhold the student's diploma?

I was originally going to say "yes," but now that I think of it...the kids have already graduated by this time, so now it's like taking something from her that is hers, isn't it?

I don't think a diploma should be withheld for any reason other than having failed to earn it. Granting or withholding academic credentials for any reason other than academic performance undermines the legitimacy of those credentials.

Whether the school had a legal right to withhold the diploma, I do not know. But legal or not, I believe it was wrong.

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I wonder at what level the courts would find the students speech inapproproate.

If she is allowed to do this then I guess a Muslim could have said

"I'm here because of my religion. Blessed be the Prophet Mohammed and Allah".

Would the courts have allowed

1 - "I'm here because of my religion. Blessed be the Prophet Mohammed and Allah. It is with love I tell you Christians, convert to my religion and get the blessings of life before it is to late."

2 - "I'm here because of my religion. Blessed be the Prophet Mohammed and Allah. It is with love I tell you Christians, do not go to hell, instead convert to my religion and get the blessings of life before it is to late."

3 - "I'm here because of my religion. Blessed be the Prophet Mohammed and Allah. It is with love I tell you Christians, do not go to hell, instead convert to my religion and get the blessings of life before it is to late. I will be giving out conversion pamphlets later."

Where is the cutoff point?

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Corder's diploma was withheld and she was ordered to meet with then-principal Mark Brewer to get it. He threatened to withhold the diploma until she apologized for the speech, according to the lawsuit and the family's statements to The Gazette. She did not apologize for the content, but did agree to write a letter of explanation for her actions. ''I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time,'' she wrote.

There's a point I'm surprised no one picked up on. I remember learning about the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws in elementary school. While withholding someone's diploma isn't a criminal penalty, it is very serious considering the implications of not having a high school diploma in our society. So for example, if a school district wanted to impose a mandatory detention on a student for acting out during graduation ceremonies, and make receipt of the diploma subject to serving the detention, they could probably do that in general, but shouldn't they be required to have a written policy in place first? Else the students have no notice that they can be subject to any penalty, and as obviously wrong as any particular conduct might be (not necessarily Ms. Corder's conduct in this case, but just in general), prior notice is essential to due process. To use an extreme example, a police officer can't just write a ticket for jaywalking and then lock the person up for thirty years. The penalty must be specified in advance.

So when I asked what other facts we would like to know before deciding how to handle this case: Did the school district have any written policy that would cover this sort of thing? I doubt it, and yes it makes a difference.

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