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Valedictorian Must Apologize For Jesus Name Drop in Speech

A Colorado high school valedictorian, Erica Corder, mentioned Jesus in her 30-second graduation speech back in 2006. As a result, the school told her an apology was in order if she wanted her diploma. The school still doesn't have its apology and Erica still doesn't have her diploma.

The resourceful teen took her situation to federal court. The court rejected her petition for an injunction, and now she's appealing that decision. The lower court held that since the speech was school sponsored, restrictions were constitutional.

Erica's address about her Christian faith differed from that presented during graduation practice. Thus, after the Jesus-switch-a-roo, and after graduation had ended, the school said she must apologize if she wanted her diploma.

Leaving legal reasoning aside, I'm surprised neither the school nor the student has been able to swallow their pride and move on. What would Jesus do?

Source

Join The Conversation
janneth janneth 8 years
She broke the agreement. She knew the rules. Heck all she has to do is apologize. That even seems too easy to me. It has nothing to do with Jesus or free speech. Next year kids will say anything they feel like. If she didn't want to give an approved speech, she should not have pretended to go through the process.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Seriously. SEEEERIOUSLEEEEEEEEEEEE. The issue is not, and never has been, about Jesus. The lawyer is making that the point of this, because people get all riled up about it. The issue is that she changed her speech. The district spokeswoman even says in the article that the issue is that she gave an unapproved speech. "The substitution is what the principal objected to, Adair said." Right there. Jesus has nothing to do with it, though frankly, Jesus would probably forgive someone, or swallow his pride, at this point. All 15 valedictorians had their speeches approved - it was one speech, with each valedictorian speaking for 30 seconds, according to the newspapers at the time. That's why she needed to explain to the public that it wasn't school-sponsored. To cover the school's ass. I'm with the school district. If they give her the diploma without an apology at this point, it's admitting that they're wrong, and she'd have fodder for a lawsuit. Also, if you look on facebook, she's in college, expecting to graduate in 2010. So this is simply her being stubborn.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Doesnt she just look like she would tell you about Jesus? What she said was she "encouraged" the audience to get to know jesus christ as their savior. which to me is like preaching, not just saying "thank you jesus for helping me graduate" or whatever.
lolalu lolalu 8 years
I can't help but think that if she said 'allah' or 'god' this wouldn't have been an issue.... I feel like whenever christians speak out in a public arena they're put under fire in ways other religions aren't- and this is coming from a quote on quote "unbeliever"
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I can't believe no one thought my Donna Martin/90210 reference to this story was funny. :raspberry:
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
kikidawn, you're still missing the school's point. If a student presents a speech to the principal, then changes it, it's perfectly reasonable for there to be repercussions. While I rescind my point that had the original speech been about Jesus (and been approved,) and she had then changed it to a secular speech the punishment would have been the same, I rescind it only because you don't seem to get the point that I'm making. Let me try to restate it in another way. If this young lady had made her speech and had it approved, and the points in the speech were "thank you, teachers, for your support, thank you to all our parents, and hooray for graduation!" And the speech she made was "Thank you to our parents and teachers for their support, let's look to our future, seize the day!" she would be in the EXACT SAME POSITION. She's not being punished for making the speech about her faith, she's being punished for not giving the speech which was approved.
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
Mykie, I think you might have misunderstood me. I totally and completely agree with you. I, too, think they want an apology b/c she mentioned Jesus. I said: The linked article says this: "Brewer required her also to say: "I realize that, had I asked ahead of time, I would not have been allowed to say what I did." Brewer = principal. Therefore if her first speech had mentioned Jesus it would not have been allowed. That was in response to chatondeneige saying this: Mykie7, the point IS NOT that she said Jesus. The point is that she changed her speech in a significant way after getting approval for a different speech. It doesn't matter that she said Jesus. Her first speech could have been all about Jesus, and if she had changed it to a completely secular speech, the school STILL would have required an apology. I was saying that the principal asked her to also state that if she had forewarned him that she was going to talk about Jesus it would not have been allowed. And if I implied in my first post that I don't think that is the reason I certainly didn't mean to.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
"The point is that she dropped religion into a public school's graduation speech without prior consent, and in our court systems, that is not protected by free speech...thank god:)" i DEMAND an apology for your bringing god into this debate! :rotfl:
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
Berlin, I completely agree with you and at first I thought the school was being a bit extreme, but she's the one being extreme. The school didn't sue her, she chose to sue the school and drag it out for two years instead of apologize. She might be the valedictorian, but she's clearly not that smart.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I agree that both sides are ridiculously stubborn, but she is the one appealing court decisions that have already sided with the school, when she could just write the damn apology. So it sucks that she didn't get to say what she wanted to; she knew she wasn't supposed to give a religious speech, the principal was screening the speeches and she purposely decided to go against that. There is not absolute freedom of speech in public schools, you are there to learn! Ya know, my high school was really authoritarian, and when we wanted to speak out against something, or rebel, we had to suffer the consequences. Fine, give your Jesus speech, then write the apology. When we had a student rally protesting the Iraq war during one of our classes, we all got detention for it. Hey, when Thoreau advocated civil disobedience he wanted us to accept the consequences of doing what we believed in. This is going to make me sound ancient, but kids these days just DON'T want to accept consequences of their actions.
Imabeliever Imabeliever 8 years
Yeah.. I do not see the point of saying.. ok yeah she broke the rules and she knew ahead of time it was wrong and she knew ahead of time that we would withhold her diploma.. but gee wilikers its been two years lets go ahead and give in and reward someone who knowingly and purposely broke the rules as a wonderful example to all other students that even if you are wrong just sue and whine and cry about it for years and we will let you get away with it. Lovely lesson for youth. She needs to be a big girl and apologize and then get her diploma.. but no instead she has sued. :OY: And even though the courts denied her request.. has she changed her mind and apologized for knowingly and purposely breaking the rules? NO! she took it to a higher court. Ridiculous.
Berlin Berlin 8 years
She needs to own up to what she did and face the consequences. She shouldn't just get off because time passed. She was offensive to some and simply she should just issue her apology. Can you image the heat if it were an Atheist that dropped some mention of how there's no god or if it were a Muslim speaking about Allah? The point is that she dropped religion into a public school's graduation speech without prior consent, and in our court systems, that is not protected by free speech...thank god:)
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
omg! two years! I graduated in 2006 too and I don't even know where my hs diploma is! lol. and my sis graduated this past june 08 and hasn't gone to pick it up from her hs! lol. katrina1020, really? the supreme court ruled that public schools are the equivalent of private establishments? I genuinely don't understand that decision! aren't public schools funded by tax payers dollars and therefore should be a public establishment? I say give the girl her diploma!
jessie jessie 8 years
well there is nothing stating that she can't say Jesus in her apology.....she ought to make it every fifth word...:oy:...time to move on...those people having nothing better to do??
Amandaletta Amandaletta 8 years
It's just a high school graduation! Who the hell cares!? I only see this as an issue if she wasn't allowed to move on to college. If she has moved on to college, then get over it, it's a piece of paper that would be sitting in her mothers memory box under the bed.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
so the school is saying that she didnt' graduate or that she's not getting her official diploma? cause in that case - who really cares? i think that at this point, i would just apologize and move on, or if i were the school i would just let it go. honestly, in today's society even when there should be a separation between church and state, this really isn't that major.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I think both sides are being ridiculously stubborn. If this is effecting her chances of starting university, then she is being ridiculous in continuing to refuse to apologize. On the other side, you would think the school district would have better things to spend their time and money on than a two year old fight over someone saying Jesus in their valedictorian speech.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
LOL! Jesus would just wait till everyone went home materialize into the office and take his diploma.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
kikidawn, I respectfully disagree with you on this point, because as it was pointed out, if she HAD added Jesus into the speech it would not have been approved. ESPECIALLY if it had been ALL about Jesus. The schools are so afraid of offending a few people these days that they lose their heads. Take into account the incident of a young boy, 4th grade, eating lunch in the cafeteria. The lunch was Chicken Nuggets. One of the chicken nuggets vaguely resembled a gun. The child picked up the chicken nugget, and showed to his friends, held it in his had and said "Pow pow". he was subsequently expelled. NOT Suspended, EXPELLED. Schools go WAY TOO FAR these days with this. I am watching the liberties that WE had go down the drain. I can understand some things, like kids wearing the Spuds Mackenzie shirts to school being required to change the shirts. Or kids with foul language on their clothes being sent home. I get that, I agree with that, but some things are just ridiculous! I received a flyer from my sons HIGH SCHOOL last week that said the following... "We have made some changes to the behavior codes for after school dances, which includes all after game dances, formal dances and novelty dances. ALL students will be required to keep six inches of space between them during all activities. While on the dance floor if a student or students is seen to be violating this rule they will be summarily suspended and parents will be notified" I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. The "naughty" things kids do are not done AT THE DANCES, but at the after parties for the most part. They are denying these kids their fundamental rights. Okay, so slow dancing isn't a right, but I think you can see the point I'm trying to make. Protecting the kids is one thing, but doing things like this under the guise of "rule breaking" is absolutely ridiculous.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
this is just another example of public schools not putting the children first. it was her speech, it was long ago, move on. she should drop it too. why does she need a piece of paper? she graduated #1 in her class, enough said.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I think she enjoys the precocious martyr role.
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
Crazy! I certainly agree that at this point it is a matter of ego, and not wanting to admit fault/defeat. I'm just thinking, if she thought enough to be deceptive and provide a practice speech she knew she would get away with, and then changed it to a religious speech, she obviously knew that the religious speech wasn't going to fly. So why bother? She had to have known there would be repercussions, or she wouldn't have been deceptive with the practice speech.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>Wow. To say the least, if the Supreme Court lets this go, they need to then persecute all the people who use Jesus' name for anything political related (i.e. George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, etc.). After all, they are saying that they agree that Jesus' name shouldn't have been used in a non-denominational situation, and that the Bill of Rights should not be upheld. First of all, the Supreme Court isn't involved, nor does it prosecute (or persecute) anything. Second, I wasn't allowed to wear a color besides black, throw a balloon, or shout out cheers during my high school graduation, or they would have held my diploma. That doesn't mean any politician (or anyone) who wears black, throws a balloon, or shouts cheers will be prosecuted by anyone. But agreed. Both should get over it. And what's the deal with Colorado and first amendment issues lately? This, the kid with the terrorist shirt, not letting people wear campign shirts at polls...what's next?
CYL CYL 8 years
WTF...
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
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