High School Student Defies Officials, Shares Faith in Speech

By:  Dave Bohon
High School Student Defies Officials, Shares Faith in Speech

A high school senior in California is being hailed for declaring his faith during a graduation speech — despite warnings from school officials.

The salutatorian of a senior class in California threw caution to the wind at the high school's June 12 graduation ceremony, using his short speech to share his faith in God — in defiance of warnings by school officials that he not use “unconstitutional” religious language in his speech.

Brooks Hamby, a senior at Brawley Union High School in Brawley, California, was notified that he had been selected as the salutatorian for his graduating class and was asked to present a draft of his speech to school officials. But when Hamby, who is a star student and athlete at the school, submitted his first draft, it was rejected because of references to his Christian faith.

In fact, noted Fox News columnist Todd Starnes, school officials rejected the first two versions of Hamby's speech with the terse explanation that they “oppose government case law and are a violation of the Constitution. The district is advising you that reference to religious content is inappropriate and that the two drafts provided will not be allowed.”

Liberty Institute, the conservative legal advocacy group that is representing Hamby in a complaint against the school, noted that the young man's first speech draft, which was written as a prayer, included the petition: “Heavenly Father, in all times, let us always be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven us.” The second rejected version also included faith language, along with a mention of the school's censorship of Hamby's speech.

On the day of the graduation ceremony and with no approved speech, reported Liberty Institute, “Brooks and his parents were called to see the principal and were notified by the school district that if Brooks 'interjects religious content, the sound will be cut off, and a disclaimer to the entire audience must be made explaining the district’s position.' After receiving this information, Brooks rewrote a third version of his speech, which he sent to the superintendent. He received that version back with all religious references crossed out in black.”

Click here to read the entire article and see video of Brooks Hamby's bold declaration of faith at his graduation ceremony. 

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