Area residents are concerned that Joshua ISD valedictorian Remington Reimer was cut off during his speech at Thursday night’s graduation because he mentioned God.
Superintendent Fran Marek said that is not the case.
Marek said the top three graduates must turn in speeches and have them approved by administration before graduation. Marek said the speeches were approved beforehand, but Reimer was cut off after he completed the approved version of his speech because he deviated from the topic.
Marek said that prayers were said during the ceremony and the salutatorian and historian also mentioned God in their speeches.
“What happened last night had nothing to do with a [religious] viewpoint,” Marek said. “Our policy specifically states about staying on subject.
“Those speeches were turned in and approved to make sure they followed policy. When they deviate from that speech, we can’t be sure that policy is being followed.”
Marek said the microphone was cut off during Reimer’s speech because the administration was not sure what he was going to say.
Reimer’s sister posted on her Facebook page that she was proud of her brother and shared the part of the speech that she said was cut off:
“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs. Where our mikes 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 Saducees, 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 away from you. This will be the first and last time many of you will hear me speak. I wish you all the best and let’s get this race going!”
Marek also posted a statement on the Joshua ISD Facebook page, which reads:
“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.”
Attempts to contact Reimer were unreturned.