Star-Telegram Cites Fake News Story as Proof Graduation Speeches Should Be Censored
When Joshua ISD officials cut off Remington Reimer's valedictory speech, we thought it unlikely that it had anything to do with his mention of God. After all, district officials didn't seem concerned later in the ceremony when another student delivered a prayer, punctuated by a lengthy recitation of scripture and a shout-out to Jesus.
Despite what the Star-Telegram may tell you, this is not a real news story.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram feels much the same way, declaring in an editorial this morning that the mic-cutting was prompted not by faith but because Reimer veered from his pre-approved script, just like the district said. Nor does the paper think Joshua ISD was wrong in policing graduation speeches. As evidence, they provide a list of ill-conceived one-liners from graduation speeches of yore:
"I had an abortion my junior year. Let me tell you what that was like."
"This school did its best to suppress my ability to think critically, but it failed. As soon as I leave here, I'm going to find a way to blow up the system."
"You want prayer in public schools? I say what they need is anarchy, the more the better. Legalize pot so we can sell it on campus."
"Heil, Hitler. Viva Castro. Marx is my hero."
The editorial writers don't bother mentioning who delivered these particular lines (a hasty Google search leads right back to the editorial), but some high school senior presumably said them somewhere. They're more meticulous in attributing the next quote:
Then there's the Ozzie Guillén school of waking the audience: "Man oh man, did you little [expletive deleted] pick the wrong time to graduate," Guillén was quoted as telling a graduating class in 2011, when he still managed the Chicago White Sox. "For those of you lucky enough to get jobs, maybe half of you work at [expletive deleted] Popeye's Chicken, and the other half get your [expletive deleted] blown off in Afghanistan."
Those school officials banned him as a result. Can you blame them?
No, probably not. But Guillen, who has delivered his share of profanity-laced oratories, never said those particular words, nor was he ever banned from Wheaton Warrenville South High School. The source of the quote, which the Star-Telegram is helpful enough to link to, is an Onion-esque fake-sports-news site called The Heckler. It was a parody, in other words. Not real.
We've emailed the Star-Telegram's editorial page director for an explanation of what happened, which we assume will be something along the lines of Googling "terrible graduation speech" and blindly copying from the first link that appears. We have yet to hear back.
(h/t Omar Villafranca)