A Texas high school principal threatened to sabotage a valedictorian’s appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy after the student delivered a speech that referenced God and the U.S. Constitution.
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.
“It was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech, the teenager said.
Sasser is now representing the teenager and is calling for the Joshua Independent School District to issue a public statement exonerating him of any wrongdoing.
He said the speech was edited and reviewed by four different school officials – including an officer in the JROTC. Sasser said the censorship violated federal and state laws.
“All he did was simply follow state law and Joshua ISD policy,” he said.
Remington Reimer, a senior at Joshua High School, made national headlines on June 6 when officials cut off his microphone in mid-speech after he strayed from pre-approved remarks and began talking about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, thanked God for “sending His only son to die for me and the rest of the world,” the Joshua Star reported.
The following day the principal met with Reimer’s father and informed him “that he intended to punish Remington for his perceived misdeed.”
Atty. Hiram Sasser said, “Specifically, he threatened to send a letter to the United States Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character or words to that effect.”
After consulting with a school attorney, the principal temporarily retracted the threat.
“The principal said he wanted to try to ruin him for what he did – for talking about the Constitution and his faith,” Sasser said. “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to continue to be the principal of that school.”
Reimer then talked about free speech and the Constitution and how “I was threatened with having the mic turned off.”
And that point – the audio feed was cut – leaving those in the audience confused. But Reimer kept on talking.
Following is a transcript of what the school district didn’t want graduates or their families to hear:
“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics 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,” he said according to the Star. “Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees, 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 from you.”
What’s your reaction to Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran’s threat? Do you believe that Remington Reimer was illegally censored?