Nebraska School Association Bans Teen From Reading LGBT-Themed Winning Poem On TV


Michael Barth, a senior high school student who won a Nebraska state speech championship with a LGBT-themed poem, should have received his moment in the spotlight when asked to perform the winning piece on Nebraska public television. Unfortunately, his moment has been marred by the Nebraska School Activities Association (organizers of the championship), which has banned the winning poem from being read on NET TV. 

“We want to keep it as it was intended, to be a showcase for talent, not a platform for individualized agendas,” NSAA Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green (pictured) said when asked why she told Michael to choose a different poem for the television appearance. 

The ACLU wasted no time in dipping its toes into the situation. 

"There is no question here," said ACLU Legal Director Amy Miller. "Michael Barth and other Nebraska students have free speech rights, and the Nebraska School Activities Association cannot disregard one of our most sacred values."

The NSAA does not get to determine what will “offend … moral standards, certainly does not have the ability to use that as grounds for altering a speech," Miller added. 

For his part, Barth has agreed to scrap his awarded poem that drew from Macklemore's "Same Love" and read something entirely different instead. 

(Source: Lincoln Journal-Star)