Schoolboy stripped of top speech prize because it referred ‘inappropriately’ to religious violence

He opened his speech with this statement:

The world’s major religions all have messages about coexisting.  But oftentimes people have found a way to bend that rule; sometimes people even use religion as an excuse to take each other’s lives.  The three major religions on the earth include the Eastern religions, Islam, and Christianity.

About one billion people live by the Eastern religions; about 1.4 billion are Muslim; and about 2.3 billion are Christians.  Religious differences have always sparked conflict, even leading to warfare and mass murder.

He included a brief paragraph on the Crusades, Genghis Khan and the terrorist attacks of September 11, and ended the speech by encouraging the “Golden Rule”, saying that would “make the world a better place”.

But, according to this report, the blue ribbon prize awarded to him was taken away this week after the assistant principal pulled him aside before school was dismissed and told him his speech was “inappropriate”.

Golob-Drake was supposed to deliver the speech yesterday to all the school’s 4th and 5th graders. Two winners –one from each grade – were to be chosen to represent the school at the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech contest.

The youngster said:

She started talking to me about how she thought my speech wasn’t appropriate for 4th and 5th graders and she thought that probably I would have to rewrite my speech, take the religion out or not compete.

He responded by saying he would needed to think about it at home.

She said to me probably the fairest thing to do is to take your ribbon.

By the time his older brother picked him from school, Zachary was in tears. His brother ended up going back to school to have a word with the assistant principal.