A teen told his graduating class Jesus is 'your answer.' Now he's facing consequences

A Northern Kentucky high school student's graduation speech sparked debate over the weekend after he urged his classmates to seek Jesus Christ as "your answer" for "the way, the truth and life."

He didn't receive his diploma and was asked to meet with his school principal because he added the religious message to his pre-approved speech, according to videos he posted on TikTok.

Campbell County High School graduate Micah Price is facing consequences after he urged his classmates to seek Jesus Christ during his graduation speech.
Campbell County High School graduate Micah Price is facing consequences after he urged his classmates to seek Jesus Christ during his graduation speech.

Micah Price said online, "I was told beforehand I wasn’t allowed to bring up Christ. ... I did anyways."

He graduated May 24 from Campbell County High School in Alexandria, about 30 minutes south of Cincinnati. The high school, which has about 1,500 students, draws from a predominantly suburban and rural part of the county.

Price said in his speech: "Class, before another word is to leave my mouth I must give the honor, the praise, and the glory to my lord and savior Jesus Christ, who in his very words tells us he is the light, he is the way, the truth and life. Class, anyone in the audience today, I'm here to tell you that if you don't have any of those things in your life and can't seem to find the answer, then my lord and savior is your answer."

Teen took to TikTok

After the graduation at Truist Arena at Northern Kentucky University, he said an assistant principal told him he'd have to speak to the district school board about what he did because he went "off-script" during the speech.

"I went against school policy, school rules. I went against that because I serve a higher power because I serve Christ. I do no one's bidding but God," he said in a TikTok on Sunday. "So, if anyone’s in the wrong, I am. I deserve to get punished.”

He went on to say he isn't sure if it's normal to have not received a diploma days after graduation.

Courtney Sauerbeck, Schools and Community Educator Director for the district, did not respond to a phone call and emailed questions by The Enquirer.

However, Superintendent Shelli Wilson told Local 12 in a statement Price was permitted to thank his "lord and savior Jesus Christ" at the beginning of the speech. But he added statements telling classmates to seek God.

"All speakers were told that going off their submitted speech, or any unplanned choices at graduation, may have repercussions as they would at any school function," Wilson said in the statement to Local 12.

'Take a chill pill'

A video of Price's speech was posted and shared online and hundreds of people have weighed in on the controversy.

"This is an amazing young man who had courage to step out and do what most adults are scared to do! He will be rewarded for sharing the good news of Jesus!" one Facebook commenter said.

"Send your kids to a religious school if you want them to freely talk about your god and all that. This is a public school. I for one do not want to listen to the ramblings of any religion at my son’s graduation. I know dang well that if this student was Muslim and was praying y’all would lose your freaking minds," another posted.

In other comments, people urged the public to attend the next Campbell County Board of Education meeting at 6 p.m. June 17 at the Alexandria Education Center to stand in support of Price.

On Monday, Price posted an update to TikTok and said he will get his diploma and he no longer has to speak to the board about the incident.

"I was on the phone today and the principal (Holly Phelps) told me it's just going to be me and her, no board," he said.

The recent graduate said the situation has gotten "out of hand" and he urged people to not call the school or attend the next board meeting. He also indicated people may have threatened school officials because of his speech.

"Anybody who's calling certain people and saying they might blow their house up or something – I don't know – But anybody who's taking a hateful route to this, I please ask that you would just take a chill pill and just timeout," he said.

According to a Facebook post by his mother, Melonie Neely Farris, Price plans to join the U.S. Air Force.

She wrote, "Micah is called to do what we are all called to do, share the love of Christ, that’s exactly what he did and by the way I heard things, the entire audience loved it!"

Neither Price nor his mom responded to online requests for comment from The Enquirer.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Campbell County graduate Micah Price mentioned Jesus Christ in speech