A valedictorian’s speech that mentioned Marjory Stoneman Douglas students was too political for the administration at the Kentucky high school — so he took it outside.
Christian Bales used a bullhorn to get his message across during the Holy Cross graduation ceremony in Covington on Friday. Christian was outside the auditorium, surrounded by other students, as he made the speech.
“‘The young people will win’ is a mantra that I’m sure many of you have heard if you’ve been attentive to the media recently,” Christian said as he read from his cellphone, according to WCPO. “It’s a phrase adopted by the prolific [Marjory] Stoneman Douglas teenagers who are advocating for an agenda — our rights to feel secure as humans.”
The school barred both Bales and Student Council President Katherine Frantz from making their speeches because they were political and “inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church,” a spokesperson for the Diocese of Covington said in a statement, according to ABC. They also missed a deadline to submit the speeches, according to the spokesperson, Tim Fitzgerald.
Stoneman Douglas students have been vocal in advocating for stronger gun laws in wake of the shooting that left 17 people dead at the Florida school in February.
“I know they pointed out that the Parkland teens teach ideologies that apparently go against the Catholic faith, which I don’t agree with in my experience,” Bales told Local 12.
Bales’ mother said the two students found out about 10 hours before the ceremony that they could not make the speeches.
“We don’t want to be vindictive, we don’t want to be vengeful,” Gillian Marksberry told WCPO. “That’s not what this is about. He’s earned the right to have a voice.”
“I didn’t think it was very polarizing,” Bales told WLWT. “It was, like, about empowerment through youth.”