Political Correctness stifles Freedom of Speech of Grade School Graduate, College Campus
Seth Clark was not allowed to deliver this graduation speech because it referenced God.
8th-grader barred from giving graduation speech over Bible verses. So he does the next best thing.
The tiny rural town of Akin in southern Illinois might not have a post office, but it can now count itself among the players on the national stage after an eighth-grade boy was barred from giving a graduation speech over its religious content.
Akin Community Grade School salutatorian Seth Clark submitted his speech for approval, the Benton Evening News said, but a local citizen complained about the content of the address, which included references to God and the Bible. So school officials told the 13-year-old he couldn’t deliver the speech, the paper reported.
“As a public school, it is our duty to educate students, regardless of how different they or their beliefs may be,” a statement from Akin Superintendent and Principal Kelly Clark to the paper reads. “While students are welcome to pray or pursue their faith without disrupting school or infringing upon the rights of others, the United States Constitution prohibits the school district from incorporating such activities as part of school-sponsored events, and when the context causes a captive audience to listen or compels other students to participate.”
Enter Rickey Karroll — a friend of Seth’s family — who told WSIL-TV he offered his property across the street from the school so Seth could give his speech.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Right after the May 16 ceremony, Seth — still dressed in his cap and gown — marched across the road along with classmates and dozens of supporters, the station said.
He then stood on the front porch of the house on Karroll’s property and read his speech.
Academic Freedom denied in Arena of Ideas on College Campuses
‘We’ve taught these kids this intellectual mush and this ideological narcissism’
Across the country, loud and sometime violent campus protesters are often met by administrators who ultimately give in to demands related to perceived slights on issues ranging from race to gender and sexuality to alleged hate speech. But one college president is fighting back, and he says the pursuit of truth – not unanimous political ideology – ought to be the goal of higher education.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper burst on to the scene in late 2015 when he wrote an open letter to his students and famously explained their campus was not a day care but a university. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Not A Day Care: A Coddled Nation is a Crippled Nation.”
“The liberal arts institution was founded some 1,000 years ago, let’s say at Oxford, for what? To educate a free man and a free woman, to educate culture and what it means to enjoy liberty, and liberation, thus the word liberal,” said Piper, in a follow-up interview to his column.
He told WND and Radio America the original purpose of a liberal arts education is now almost unrecognizable at most schools.
“The classical liberal is someone who stands for freedom, for liberty and for liberation. What we see today within the American academy is the shutting down of ideas. We see ideological fascism rather than academic freedom,” Piper said.
“The conservative voice is actually more classically liberal because we’re arguing for an open, robust exchange of ideas. Why? Because we can trust truth to judge the debate rather than politics or power.”