The Richmond County high school senior who sparked a national debate on free speech is finally commenting on the controversy inspired by her use of the quote “Build the wall” in her high school yearbook.
It’s a quote that got the yearbook yanked by the Richmond County Schools, which claimed the book had “inappropriate comments.”
Media coverage of the affair largely dodged naming the student involved.
Miranda Taylor says she’s the one, but waited until the day after she graduated Richmond Early College High School to talk about it with her hometown newspaper, the Richmond Daily Journal.
“While I am sorry that my classmates and I will not have a yearbook, I can honestly say that I am not sorry for defending my freedom of speech,” Taylor told Richmond Daily Journal. “I have always been taught that when I am given a choice, it is up to me to make that choice. I will choose God and my country every time.
“Because of those statements, social media has now decided that I am prejudiced, racist, and have no right to freedom of speech. I have been (threatened) by hundreds of people that I don’t even know, just because I quoted our president.”
Graduating students at the school of 259 students were encouraged to share a quote under their picture in the yearbook.
The Trump quote “Build that wall” is considered racist by some who don’t support plans to secure the nation’s borders and stem the flow of people coming into the country illegally. Many who voted for Trump support the idea of building a wall along the Mexican border, which is the chief source of illegal entry into the country.
Some classmates supported the decision to pull the yearbook, but thousands of people around the country saw the move as an attempt to censor free speech when it doesn’t mesh with popular opinion. Many of those critics visited the school’s Facebook page to express outrage.
“If she chose ‘Resist Trump’ instead of ‘Build that Wall’ she would have been made honorary valedictorian,” posted Peter Pappas.
“What time is the book burning?’ asked Grant Jones.
“I fought two wars to protect those kids’ right to free speech,” said Jesse LeSueur, “and you think you can trample on that...Quoting the president of the United States is banned?”
Taylor told the Daily Journal that she was never told her quote was not acceptable for the year book, the first of which were handed out May 8.
School officials have not cited Taylor’s quote specifically, instead saying several quotes submitted by students were inappropriate. The “mistake” was discovered by the principal, and that resulted in pre-ordered yearbooks being taken up the same morning they were passed out. It has remained unclear if a new yearbook will be printed.
The school system has yet to give examples of other “inappropriate” quotes or mistakes or even say how many there were, noted the Daily Journal.