Katelyn Campbell, Student In Abstinence Controversy, No Longer Allowed To Speak At Graduation

Student Who Spoke Out Against Abstinence-Only Assembly No Longer Allowed To Speak At HS Graduation

Katelyn Campbell is among several students who will no longer be allowed to speak at George Washington High School’s graduation ceremony, the Charleston Gazette reports. The senior recently made headlines when she was allegedly threatened by the West Virginia school’s principal for speaking out against a mandatory abstinence-only assembly.

Campbell and seven other students were expected to speak at the school’s graduation ceremony on May 22, based on their receiving the school’s “highest honors.” However, on Wednesday, principal George Aulenbacher revealed that only the two students with the highest GPAs would be speaking, due to changes in the format of the ceremony, according to the paper.

On Wednesday afternoon, Campbell took to the "Friends of Katelyn Campbell" Facebook page and suggested the graduation changes were made in an effort to prevent her from speaking.

She wrote:

"I was shocked to hear from Mr. Aulenbacher today that myself and other highest honor graduates will no longer be permitted to speak at our graduation ceremony next Wednesday ... Politics, I suppose, play a greater role in the graduation of seniors than I had previously expected."

While Campbell acknowledges that the district superintendent told her the graduation changes had long been in the works, she questions why she and the other highest honor graduates were only just informed of the decision one week before the ceremony.

Aulenbacher told WOWK that he had forgotten to inform the students of the changes. He did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

Although the school district recommended that schools shorten their ceremonies, it gave no specifics about how many speakers each school should have or how long their speeches should be, the Charleston Daily Mail reports. In fact, the principal of another school in the district elected not to cut any speakers and said this year's ceremony might even be longer than previous ones.

"Our students carry the program, and they are students who deserve that recognition," Capital High principal Clinton Giles told the paper. "Ours is a regal, stately, dignified, steeped-with-pomp-and-circumstance occasion."

Commenters on the "Friends of Katelyn Campbell" Facebook page expressed their disappointment that Campbell would not be allowed to speak.

"Please publish or record your speech, and those of the others who have been denied their time also. A lot of us are interested it what you have to say," one commenter wrote.

Campbell, who will be attending Wellesley College next year, sought an injunction against the school’s principal in April after he allegedly threatened to tell the school that she was of “bad character.” She was not granted the injunction.

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