Regarding “Prague's reputation is altered by ‘hell'” (News, Aug. 22): Obviously, Kaitlin Nootbaar is an intelligent student and was reared by a good family. To be valedictorian at any high school is quite an achievement, and her parents are rightly proud of her. Her father said he felt this was a free-speech issue and that he was proud of Kaitlin for standing up for what she believes. She said she didn't feel an empty apology to the school would be the right way to get her diploma.
This isn't a free-speech issue. The word she used barely shows up on the “offensive” radar. It's more of a lesson on the credibility of your word. Giving a copy of her speech to the principal to review, then purposely changing it, was deceptive. And I hope Kaitlin learns that her word is much more important than any award, accomplishment or taking any kind of stand.
Lastly, she told a television interviewer that she discussed with classmates just before the speech as to whether she would change it. That tells me she knew it may not be the right thing to do. In most cases, if you have to think about whether something is right or not, it's probably not.
Randy Stevens, Stillwater
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