Oklahoma High School Valedictorian Denied Diploma For Saying “Hell”

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Oklahoma’s Prague High School takes its curse words very seriously. The school is holding back their valedictorian’s diploma because the teen uttered the word “hell” during her speech at the school’s commencement ceremony.

Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School and was awarded the title of valedictorian and the honor of delivering a speech at the school’s graduation. Reportedly inspired by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Nootbaar wanted to use her public platform to discuss the uncertainty facing a graduating senior. According to her father who spoke to the local news outlet, “Her quote was, ‘When she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation, people would ask her, what do you want to do and she said how the hell do I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.’” However, in the draft of the speech Nootbaar handed in to her school, she substituted the word “heck” for “hell.” When delivering the speech, she uttered “hell” instead, the audience applauded, but the school’s principal was not pleased.

(MORE: Student Denied Diploma After Family Cheered Excessively At Graduation Ceremony)

Now the school wants a written apology from the young woman for saying h-e-double-hockey-sticks at an official school event before they will release her diploma. Understandably, her father is unhappy with the school’s position. “She earned that diploma. She completed all the state curriculum,” David Nootbaar told KFOR-TV news. “In four years she has never made a B. She got straight A’s and had a 4.0 the whole way through.” School officials declined to comment. “This matter is confidential and we cannot publicly say anything about it,” Prague schools Superintendent Rick Martin said in a statement to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.

Nootbar reportedly has no plans to write an apology.

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32 comments
waltydog
waltydog

The quote was  "When she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation, people would ask her, what do you want to do and she said ‘How the hell do I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.."If the context she used "hell" in is not offensive to those who say it is not offensive, then why don't you teach your children as they learn how to speak at age 2 to start saying  "the hell with you"; "Go to hell!"; "to hell with you Mom and Dad" ; "where in the hell is my blankie" etc. etc.....

It's amazing how the culture we live in today is so oblivious to the subtle changes that is overcoming morality. So many of today's children (yes even high schoolers) have never experienced their years of childhood. Society is at fault and a lot of parents are blind to this as they treat their children as adults rather than bringing them up as children. Just one example was this past year when a kindergarten class performed  "heavy metal" tunes on stage in their school. It's not amazing then as to why there are police patrolling the halls of not just high schools and middle schools, but the halls of elementary schools as well. 

....tis amazing but not surprising...

biker1tx
biker1tx

Where is Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, Sr.

Bono, Susan Sarandon, and Hanoi Jane Fonda at?  Why have they not come out

publicly to defend this girl and demand justic !!! Where are all the people who are

against School Bullying???

This High School principal is nothing but a school administrator bully !!!

Tim Roberts
Tim Roberts

I live in Durant, ok., I'm retired, but i'll give this family $10 dollars of my retirement check to help pay for attorney fees to sue the school district,and each individual involved seperately for the involvement in such actions!

bzelbub
bzelbub

A little bit hard to claim its a private matter when everyone attending the ceremony heard the speech. How about the school giving her the diploma she earned and she agrees not to come back to the easily offended school that she graduated from with Honors.

backhaul1
backhaul1

What we have here is some imperious school administrative flunkie control freak acting out on a student.

Michael Hulsey
Michael Hulsey

She shouldn't be denied her diploma for saying Hell - she should be denied her diploma for attempting to mimic the graduation speech from Twilight. 

Dan Williams
Dan Williams

I think those school administrators are idiots. Hell is in the bible! and while I wasn't allowed to use it in that context as a child, I did not then, nor do I now feel that "hell" is a curse word! Hell, get over it! Give this young lady the diploma she has earned.

54Cheyenne
54Cheyenne

There has got to be about 50 lawyers willing to take this on just for the sheer joy of it and suit the HELL out of the school district and the principal individually.

`*:;,.★~Stephanie ~☆・:.,;*
`*:;,.★~Stephanie ~☆・:.,;*

Wait wait Hell isn't even a curse word. What the hell is wrong with this school?? (LOL) Someone quick start a petition start a lawsuit do something to get this girl her Diploma 

Pam Tucker
Pam Tucker

Had he hollered "gun" or  "bomb", he probably wouldn't have been in trouble.

Michael Hulsey
Michael Hulsey

Had you read the article, you'd know that "he" is a she. 

Paul Shene
Paul Shene

The solution here is the parents slap a lawsuit for a sum LARGER than the next year's school's budget.  The only way the lawsuit goes bye bye is the school board cough up the diploma AND an apology AND their resignations.

Michael Hulsey
Michael Hulsey

Yes. Teach them a lesson by depriving other students because all of the school system's money will go to pay a lawsuit over something so trivial. Her transcripts were released - the diploma is superfluous. 

Lise Quinn
Lise Quinn like.author.displayName 1 Like

 Well then, if the school cares about the other students, they will give her the diploma. The school is at fault here, the school will be at fault if a lawsuit is brought, and any damage to other students' education because of this will be the school's fault.

Diannenmp
Diannenmp

Katherine answered I'm in shock that people can make $9845 in four weeks on the network. have you look this(Click on menu Home)

CloudZ1116
CloudZ1116

Jeez, talk about the school throwing a hissy fit. If it were me, I'd find out if the college of my choice would have an issue with me not having an "official" high school diploma. If they were gonna let me in regardless, then I'd tell the high school to shove it.

Michael Hulsey
Michael Hulsey

She was accepted by the college of her choice and will be attending in the fall. The lack of diploma was of no concern. Diplomas are ceremonial anyway - transcripts are what matter, and those were released. 

Skipdallas
Skipdallas

Actually, colleges are interested in a students transcript. So, a student can enter college without a diploma. As long as the student meets the minimum requirements that are usually set by the State. At least this is the way it worked when I was a high school student back in the day.

Fran Simmons
Fran Simmons

 I agree that the diploma's not a big deal to the college.  But at that time of her life, the diploma IS a big deal to the graduate. It's petty and stupid to withhold it for this infraction.

Skipdallas
Skipdallas

It wasn't the school board, it was the school principal David Smith that withheld this young womans diploma. Typical small minded martinet withholding an EARNED certificate. He seems to take it upon himself to abrogate this students first amendment rights. Furthermore: What exactly is wrong with the word "Hell" ? It is in no way obscene, or even "crude" It originally referred to a place of punishment, something this principle is very fond of. Given the intellectual backwardness of this man, it is surprising that He made it out of college. And to put this man in a position of some authority over children, borders on negligence by the school board.

Parent1968
Parent1968

If the word "hell" is used to refer to a place of punishment, then it isn't a curse word.  Did she refer to it as a place in her speech?   I'm sure if she was talking about Hell in her speech that would not have been allowed from the get-go.  

Or did she say something like "What the hell...."  Let's replace it with the technical definition and see if it works.  "What the 'place of punishment' is wrong with using any words we want in a school setting?"  Hmmm. Nobody means it as a "place of punishment" when they are using it in that context.  They mean it as a curse word.  

Jesse Pollock
Jesse Pollock

God, you're an easily offended cunt, ain't you?

Can I just ask, why does it matter, that one petty man is offended by one word that is barely offensive? If she had said fuck, I'd understand, but hell? I could say hell in front of my grandparents and they wouldn't bat an eyelash. This man, and obviously you yourself, need to get up to speed on the real world, and not your own prejudices. It's just words, mate. To deny this girl something that she has worked so hard to achieve is facetious and downright outragious.

Skipdallas
Skipdallas

“Her quote was, ‘When she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation, people would ask her, what do you want to do and she said how the hell do I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.’”

This is hardly a "Curse", it is but a figure of speech, used daily by millions of people. Anyone that believes this to be obscene is just not living in the 21st century, and should retire.

Parent1968
Parent1968

Skipdallas, what kind of consequences would you have given to a graduating senior who did not fulfill her side of the bargain of giving the approved speech?  What will happen next year when it isn't the word Hell because next year's students will know that the boundaries can be pushed?  Maybe it will be asshat or something else that could be offensive to others in an audience with families with young children?  LOL :)

Skipdallas
Skipdallas

OK ! Given the word "Hell" is a curse word. It still does not rise to the level of speech that would be classified as obscene, or even rude. I hold to my comments about this principle and the gross overreaction on his part. And I still contend that he is an out of control asshat! Now there is a word for you! LOL :)

Parent1968
Parent1968

If the word "hell" is used to refer to a place of punishment, then it isn't a curse word.  Did she refer to it as a place in her speech?   I'm sure if she was talking about Hell in her speech that would not have been allowed from the get-go.  

Or did she say something like "What the hell...."  Let's replace it with the technical definition and see if it works.  "What the 'place of punishment' is wrong with using any words we want in a school setting?"  Hmmm. Nobody means it as a "place of punishment" when they are using it in that context.  They mean it as a curse word.  

Ji Han
Ji Han

a curse word!!!!! ohhhhhhh big deal... lol

No one word is offensive enough to cost one her diploma. This principal and the district are ridiculous.