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Speechlessness

Most graduating seniors at the top of their class get up in front of peers and parents to make a speech. Gallatin High School valedictorian Chris Linzy did just that, but now the Tennessee teen faces disorderly conduct charges carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail for his attempt to speak—plus the possibility he won’t receive his diploma. “This is blown so far out of proportion,” said the boy’s father, David Linzy. “This wasn't an incident where he vandalized something, streaked across the stage, or set off fireworks." He did break the rules, however. At Gallatin High, the student body president addresses the graduates, but not the valedictorian—a policy Chris wanted to question in his speech. However, after grabbing the microphone away from the teacher who read off students’ names, Chris was only able to get a few sentences out before the power to the amplifier was cut. He’s since apologized to principal Rufus Lassiter, but the administrator still isn’t saying whether he’ll get to officially graduate. Moreover, Lassiter is upset by all the media attention the valedictorian’s interruption has drawn at the expense of the other seniors: “The good kids that wanted to do right and obey the rules, they're being left out."

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