A Texas high school valedictorian had his microphone silenced during his speech on Thursday. Remington Reimer, from Joshua High School, had finished his preapproved speech when he began to deviate from the topic -- and then his microphone was cut off.
Students and audience members said Reimer’s speech was cut short when he started talking about the Constitution, Fox 4 reports. Others believe the school interrupted his speech due to religious reasons. Reimer reportedly finished the speech without the microphone turned on, so few could make out what he said.
"He just said he was talking about getting constitutional rights getting taken away from him," Colin Radford, a Joshua High School graduate, told Fox 4. "And then he said just yesterday they threatened to turn my microphone off and then his microphone went off."
Fran Marek, superintendent of Joshua Independent School District, said religion didn’t play a part in the incident. Prayers were included throughout the ceremony, she told the Cleburne Times-Review. “What happened last night had nothing to do with a [religious] viewpoint,” she said. “Our policy specifically states about staying on subject.”
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Reimer’s sister posted the rest of her brother’s speech on her Facebook page, according to the Burleson Star:
“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mikes 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 Saducees, 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 away from you. This will be the first and last time many of you will hear me speak. I wish you all the best, and let’s get this race going!”
Todd Reimer, Remington’s father, said his soft-spoken son was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. At the time of the speech, he couldn’t make out what his son said.
“I have no idea what he said,” Todd Reimer told the Burleson Star. “I was just as confused as everybody else was. I'm not sure what happened up there or why his mic was cut off.”
Despite the attention surrounding the incident, the Joshua High School administration said it followed policy.
“The district has reviewed the rules and policies regarding graduation speeches and has determined that the policy was followed last night,” Mick Cochran, school principal, said.
Remington wasn’t the only valedictorian this graduation season to deviate from a preapproved speeches.
In South Carolina, Roy Costner IV tore up his speech and recited the Lord’s Prayer as an act of protest against a recent school board decision that banned Jesus’ name from being used in student-led meetings. Costner’s actions were applauded by students and audience members who cheered him while he said the prayer.
"It was an emotional moment," Costner told Fox Carolina. "It was overwhelming to look out and see the crowd yelling."