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How To Ruin Your Graduation Day With Free Expression

Kids these days. So into their First Amendment rights.

Wear an eagle feather in your hair.

Wear an eagle feather in your hair.


Chelsey Ramer, a Creek Indian and senior at Escambia Academy in Alabama, was forced to pay the school board $1,000 to release her diploma and transcripts after she wore an eagle feather to her graduation ceremony.

Ramer said she and her family will pay the fine imposed by the school board, which several months ago denied her request to wear the eagle feather during graduation as a nod to her Native American heritage.

“It was worth every penny of the thousand dollars," Ramer said. “This is what I’ve been waiting on, and I feel like I have a right to wear it." …

“My freshman year I went to graduation and students were wearing feathers and they didn't get in any trouble," she said. “I don't think they asked permission. So we asked for permission about two or three months before graduation. (Headmaster Betty Warren) turned us down and said if we wore our feathers we would be pulled off the field."

Ramer wasn't pulled from the field, but she was given a fine for violating school policy. The headmaster has since left the school amicably, a school board chairman told the Atmore Advance.

Thank God in your valedictorian speech.

“Most people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile," said Remington Reimer, valedictorian at Texas’ Joshua High School and future U.S. Naval Academy student, in his graduation address last Thursday. He didn't get to finish the speech.

Reimer was apparently told beforehand to refrain from mentioning freedom of speech or religion. When he broke that rule, his mic was cut. According to a ceremony attendee who emailed the Burleson Star, here's what Remington said after the audio went out:

“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics 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 Sadducees, 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 from you."

His fellow students — the ones who could hear him — erupted in applause.

In South Carolina, another valedictorian broke a similar rule, ripping up his speech to recite the Lord's Prayer. His mic was kept on.

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