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Valedictorian Sues and Loses Over Censoring Of Her Speech

In 2006, Foothill High School graduate Brittany McComb took to the podium to recite her valedictorian speech. During the speech to her Henderson Nevada classmates, she made several comments that administrators state strayed from her preapproved speech. Due to the content of that portion of her speech, Miss McComb believed she was being censored unfairly and that her First Amendment Rights were being violated. And that, took her to court.

 In her speech, she made the following statement, “God’s love is so great that he gave his only son up to an excruciating death on a cross so his blood would cover all our shortcomings and our relationship with him could be restored.” At that point, her microphone was unplugged and the audience was unable to hear the rest of her speech. The video of the commencement has been on YouTube for two years and has since been viewed more than 35,000 times.

McComb learned this month that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would no longer hear her case. The panel of three judges issued a memo reversing a federal judge decision from 2007 not to grant a district motion to dismiss the case. While they can approve, McComb’s attorney did not believe their chances were good. The panel stated that they did not believe the school violated her right to free speech by not allowing the “proselytizing graduation speech” to continue.