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National group says Oklahoma teen should get diploma

Oklahoman Published: August 30, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A national free speech group says an Oklahoma high school valedictorian shouldn't be denied a diploma because she used the word “hell” in her class valedictory speech.

The National Coalition Against Censorship says it sent a letter to the Prague school district Thursday stating Kaitlin Nootbaar has a First Amendment right to free expression and shouldn't be punished because someone may be offended by what she said.

Nootbaar used the word “hell” while describing how she's changed her mind about what she wants to do after graduation.

Prague school Superintendent Rick Martin said he hadn't received the letter and declined to say whether Nootbaar had received her diploma.

Nootbaar's father, David Nootbaar, said his daughter hadn't received the diploma yet and has begun classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.