Richard Abowitz from the latimes.com blog has posted an interview he conducted with Brittany McComb. For readers unfamiliar with Brittany’s story, click here for our coverage. For the rest of you, excerpts from Brittany’s interview are below.
Question: [One of my readers asks]: “Why didn’t you take legal action when the school edited your written speech? Couldn’t this be handled without showboating at the commencement?” Leaving out the value judgment of ‘showboating,’ did you think of doing something before the incident?
Brittany: Oh, yes. My mom called the school board lawyer and his secretary promised to call right back and didn’t. We tried numerous times to get in touch with the [school] district lawyer. From the moment they gave us the revised speech we began calling. It was like he was avoiding us and not returning our calls. We tried so many times and graduation was nearing, school was already out, we didn’t know what to do. I think people get the impression that this was set and done and all premeditated, but things just came into place the way they did. It was never like beforehand I was like, “Oh, they are going to cut off my mike and I am going to have a lawsuit.” No. I never thought about media. I just thought about expressing what was in me and that was Christ. It was the knowledge I gained from His words. There was a set of guidelines they gave us for writing the speech and I followed them step by step. Everything about their editing violated my logic and my principles. I was kind of shocked by it. I was like, “Why are they doing this?” I’ve been a good kid. I’ve done everything they asked of me in every aspect of school life.
Question: I think the one question readers feel most focused on is why you at first agreed to give the edited speech and then did not do so? There is a sense running through many of the comments left on my blog that you were deceptive in doing that. When you said you would give the edited speech did you mean it or were you fibbing?
Brittany: You mean when I said I’d give the edited speech?
Question: Yes. Did you at first agree to give the edited speech?
Brittany: Yes. The actual situation was that the my assistant principal confronted me in the hallway and demanded to know what I was going to do. My parents were out of town, we still had not contacted the lawyer, everything was chaotic, and I was like “What am I going to do?” I had no idea. So I had to say something and I was at my wits end. I was very intimidated. So I kind of said, “yes” and I regret it. I wish I had stood up right then for myself.
Question: So you did agree to give the edited version at first?
Brittany: I didn’t know what I was going to do. I did say I would give the revised speech. I regret it. But it wasn’t malicious. I wasn’t thinking, “I’m going to stick it to you to get my free speech.” Christ has abundant forgiveness. I really just wanted to tell my classmates about this light and love in my life and it tore me apart that they (school officials) did not want me to be who I am. It was like they wanted me to lie over who I am. In hindsight I regret not standing up for myself right away.
Read the rest of the interview by clicking here.
For full coverage of Brittany’s story, click here.