Kaitlin Nootbaar is a high school valedictorian without a diploma. Because the Oklahoma straight-A student used the word “hell” in her commencement address, Prague High School administrators refused to issue her official graduation certificate, her father, David Nootbaar, told local TV outlet KFOR.
In the speech, which her father said was inspired by “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” Nootbaar recounted her response to people asking the high school senior what she wanted to do with her life:
“How the hell do I know?” she said. “I’ve changed my mind so many times.”
The school, which approved the script with the word “heck” instead of “hell,” reportedly won’t issue Nootbaar’s diploma until she writes a formal apology.
So far, Nootbaar has no plans to comply with their request. In a statement Monday (Aug. 20), she said:
“I would like to thank everyone who is backing me on this, especially my friends and family. And to those who don’t agree with me, that is fine also. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is free to comment however they choose. It’s one of the great advantages of living in a free country. A country where we are free to speak.”