Kaitlin Nootbaar, High School Valedictorian, Denied Diploma For Saying “Hell”

graduation hat with diploma

Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated Prague High School in Oklahoma as the high school valedictorian but won’t receive her very much earned diploma. During the graduation speech she said, “How the hell do I know?” regarding the often asked questions of pending graduates about what they will do after graduation.

Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School with a 4.0 grade point average, her father, David Nootbaar, told KFOR-TV. But school administrators told him that Kaitlin would have to submit a written apology in order to get her diploma. – yahoo.com High school valedictorian denied diploma over ‘hell’ speech says she won’t apologize

Nootbaar had went back and forth over her decision to say “hell” or “heck” in her speech. The draft that she presented to the school had “heck” written down. The idea of that part of the speech comes from a scene from one of the Twilight films. I knew those movies were bad; glittery vampires ugh.

So the school wants a written apology or they won’t give her the diploma she has more than earned. Katilin has said that at this time she is not going to apologize. Her father supports her decision to stand her ground. Good for them.

“Ms. Nootbaar prepared an appropriate speech, which was approved by the high school principal,” Rick Martin, Prague schools superintendent, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, she did not present the speech as written and used language that was inappropriate for a graduation exercise.”

This is a bit ridiculous. If the school administrators are upset or uncomfortable with the language that she used in her speech that is fine. I can even understand to some degree as the audience no doubt was made up of people of all ages and families. When putting on a family friendly event you have to be careful about what is presented to the public. People going there expecting a clean event might lobby complaints with the school, regardless how crazy you or I might think that would be over the word “hell”. With that in mind, perhaps an apology is in order. However, asking for an apology is one thing. Holding her diploma hostage is something totally different. It’s petty and vindictive. Childish. Yea let’s throw childish in there too.

Presenting an ultimatum for an apology is more likely to make someone less obliged to see your position. I’d be willing to bet that if the school had come at her differently about her choice of words she would have apologized anyway as a courtesy. Now, due to the attention this incident has received, it’s a situation where someone is going to have to swallow their pride to resolve. The school is going to have to basically admit that they overreacted or Kaitlin is going to have to say she made a mistake. Situations like that usually result in a stalemate for a long time.

Should Kaitlin Nootbaar apologize to get her diploma? I don’t think so. I think the school needs to let it go, give her what she earned and move on. How are you going to teach students to be adults when you are acting like children yourselves?

i can haz diploma

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Jaylon Carter

Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs NetBuzzDigest.com, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.

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