Barred from speaking at graduation, high school valedictorian gave his speech outside

In Covington, Ky., both the graduating valedictorian and student council president at Holy Cross High School learned hours before their graduation ceremony on Friday night that they would not be allowed to deliver their planned speeches at the ceremony, ABC reports.

So they found a pair of megaphones and delivered them outside. “The young people will win,” valedictorian Christian Bales said, “because we’re finished being complacent.”

In his speech, Bales praised the fight for stronger gun laws by school-shooting survivors in Florida, and applauded his classmates for participating in an anti-abortion march, saying students should “continue to utilize our voices.”

Officials with the local Catholic diocese said parts of his speech were too political and not in keeping with church teachings. A spokesman for the Diocese of Covington, Tim Fitzgerald, said, “When the proposed speeches were received, they were found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church,” Fitzgerald said in a statement to ABC.

“The [student council] president [Katherine Frantz] is my best friend, and we have been two huge advocates for social reform in our community, which has likely put us on the radar for the diocese,” Bales told WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.

“We are dynamic, we are intelligent, we have a voice, and we’re capable of using it in all communities,” he said in his speech, which he has posted online. “We must take what we’ve learned in this community and apply it to the world we are about to encounter.”

Video of Bales’s speech went viral, with the Twitterverse cheering on the valedictorian.

Eighteen-year-old Bales is an openly gay student who says he plans to major in biology at the University of Louisville, where he has an academic scholarship.

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