Oklahoma valedictorian denied diploma for saying ‘hell’ in graduation speech

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:43 EDT
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Oklahoma valedictorian graduate Kaitlin Nootbaar. Screenshot via Oklahoma's Own News On 6.
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A high school principal in Oklahoma refused this week to turn over a straight-A student’s diploma because she used the word “hell” in her graduation speech.

That’s got the father of 18-year-old Kaitlin Nootbaar mad as hell, insisting to local reporters with Oklahoma’s Own News On 6 that Prague High School Principal David Smith has gone too far.

Nootbaar quoted the movie “Twilight” in her graduation speech, saying, “They ask us now what we want to be, and we say who the hell knows.” For that, Smith reportedly demanded that Nootbaar write a letter apologizing for her language before he releases her diploma.

Nootbaar has refused, so the standoff continues.

“They’re denying her diploma because she used the word ‘hell’ — something that isn’t even banned by the FCC,” “The Young Turks” co-host Ana Kasparian said on Monday night’s show. “I can say it as much as I want on this national television show.”

This video was broadcast by Current TV’s “The Young Turks” on Monday, August 20, 2012.

This video was broadcast by Oklahoma’s Own News On 6 on Monday, August 20, 2012.

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

Photo: Screenshot via Oklahoma’s Own News On 6.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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