A gay valedictorian from a Denver school saw his speech canceled after he refused to omit a part of the planned speech where he intended to reveal to the student body that he was a homosexual. The senior sent his draft to school administrators for review, and when the teen repudiated their demands to keep quiet about his sexual orientation, the speech was pulled from graduation ceremonies.
Writes Yahoo News: “Colorado senior Evan Young was a model student. He finished his high school career with an impressive 4.5 GPA and a scholarship to Rutgers University, and he was named Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School’s valedictorian. But when school officials read a draft of his graduation speech—a customary honor given to the highest achiever—they opted to silence the student.”
Speaking of his planned discourse, the 18-year-old said: “My main theme is that you’re supposed to be respectful of people, even if you don’t agree with them,” Young commented. “I figured my gayness would be a very good way to address that. I told (principal BJ Buchmann) I’m not going to remove the part where I say I’m gay, because I am. It’s important to me.”
Buchmann then went a step further in the halls of ignominy by phoning up the teen’s parents, without Young’s permission, to discuss his gayness and the fact he wanted to use the school function as a forum to reveal himself. The problem was – Young’s parents did not even know their son was gay, and Buchmann outed the teen over the phone.
“My parents are very liberal. I think they were totally OK with it,” said Young. “But I was not OK with it.”
Young said the graduation was on May 16, and it was not until minutes before he was due to give his speech that the school advised him that they were yanking him from the program because he rebuffed their suggested edits of his speech.
The Twin Peaks Charter Academy issued a lengthy statement from their attorneys, citing a Supreme Court case as precedent.
Read here in its entirety, the statement noted that the speaking event was canceled “to protect the solemnity of the evening and to preserve and protect the mission of the school,” adding that “references to personal matters of a sexual nature… are never appropriate for a speech at a graduation ceremony.”
In addition, the statement says that Young’s draft “was condescending towards the school and the student’s peers, and included, among other things, ridiculing comments about faculty and students.”
The school’s attorney, Barry Arrington, said: “Graduation is not a time for a student to use his commencement speech to push his personal agenda on a captive audience.”
Who is in the right here? Leave your thoughts below on this gay valedictorian’s speech.