Rick Santorum Froths Over ‘Free Speech Rights’ After Michigan High School Cancels His Appearance

Rick Santorum's appearance at Grosse Pointe High School in Michigan was canceled by the school's superintendent Dr. Thomas Harwood after Santorum refused to provide an advance copy of his speech, the Detroit News reports:

Rick_santorumHarwood was told he could not preview the speech intended for more than 1,700 students during an assembly at the public high school and that Santorum never spoke before high school students, Fannon said.

Harwood met with Grosse Pointe High School principal Matt Outlaw and student Peter Fox, who was instrumental in getting Santorum to accept the invitation, and informed them of the decision, Fannon said. Parents were informed via email the same day, she said.

"The district just wanted to make sure the speech was focused on leadership. And when they were unwilling to review the speech, we couldn't allow them to come," Fannon said.

"As a public school system, we must be neutral, and we can't impose a position that is not neutral during a school activity during the school day," she said.

An outraged Santorum released a statement about the cancelation:

"It's a sad day when liberal educators are allowed to influence young minds – extending free speech rights only to those who share their liberal views.  I support traditional marriage; I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.  I'm not sure what the administrators in the Grosse Pointe Public School System are afraid of, but these students deserve the respect to form their own opinion on this important issue.

"Furthermore, anyone who has ever seen me speak knows I rarely use prepared text.  In the case of Grosse Pointe High School – I was never asked for a copy of a speech, nor did I send one.  This has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions."

Comments

  1. Clayton says

    “This has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions.”

    They would have known the “context of his convictions” before issuing the invitation in the first place. It was clearly the content of his speech that was at issue.

  2. Cadence says

    How can he speak about leadership, since his time in public office was so short. The vast majority of his time in the public eye has been spent preaching against marriage equality, and the basic right of gay people to exist. Those actions would lead some to believe that he really doesn’t believe in allowing people to make up their own minds about any subject.

    He also misuses the word liberal. The cancellation was the action of educators, who didn’t want to expose their students to someone who would insult them, their friends, or others who they love and know.

  3. says

    He still has the right to make his little speech, just not at that high school. Schools have no obligation to let Frothy or any other kook hold court in an assembly. He’s just throwing a tantrum because the platform he expected to have for eternity is being pulled out from under him, and it’s only going to get more lonely with time.

  4. e.c. says

    Quick, call the waaaaaaaaaaaaambulance.

    Obviously the school did the right thing since you were supposed to talk about “leadership” and you immediately went into a political rant on gay marriage.

  5. hamish says

    Why is it religious bigots always piss their panties when they **think** their bigotry might be challenged. Poor Ricky – like Romney, he’s just not used to people saying “No” to him. Bigots never are.

  6. William says

    Some guy from another state was going to do a speech in a public high school trying to brainwash/chastise kids about “traditional”marriage…..what the hell was he — and the folks that originally invited him — thinking?!??!? Since well do public schools even thik about inviting has-been politicians and self righteous dominionists to speak during the school day at a school wide assembly.

  7. mike/ says

    so Ricky is calling the superintendent a liar? he said no one asked him for a copy of his speech AND he never writes his speeches? no wonder he never makes much sense. he can’t remember everything he says…

  8. graphicjack says

    You have the right to your idiotic and outdated opinions, and the school has the right to ensure that you are not exposing kids to hate speech. Everyone knows Frothy is a one-note, anti-gay mouth-piece… I agree that if he was invited in the first place, they would have already known about his anti-gay stance. It would be interesting to know whether the school asks this of every potential speaker, which actually is a great policy, or whether an exception was made in his case.

  9. jleo71 says

    In a class with Mitch McConnell who recently said,”The only way Senate Republicans can protect our democracy is by preventing a vote.” Both need to consult their dictionaries before they let their asses overrun their mouths.

  10. says

    Who said they were worried about him talking about same sex marriage. They wanted to make sure he was talking about leadership… the speech could have talked about gun control, religion, He could have talked about how he came about with the last name that he had.

    All they asked was for a transcript of his speech, and when he failed to provide, they told him he couldn’t come, and all of the sudden he turned it into a gay marriage issue. Nice way to make an assumption

  11. albertam says

    well hey hasbeen, go away make a difference on a different planet. no one wants you to divide the younger populace who can make up their own minds of today and the future. go away your hate speeches are not wanted.

  12. woodroad34d says

    I’m just trying to get my head around the illogic and selfishness of this idiot. He has no right to speak there; he was invited, rejected their rules and was uninvited for being a bad guest. He’s just the lowest of the low…any comparison to Hitler would do Hitler shame.

  13. KML says

    This is a tough one, but I think I come down on the side that Santorum should have been allowed to come to the school, so long as (a) kids were told they were free to challenge him, and (b) the school also invited high profile pro-equality speakers on a different day (who could also be challenged).

  14. GuyinGPP says

    I graduated from GP South not that long ago…but longer than I care to think about at the moment. It’s been a bit of a low boil controversy for a couple weeks. It wasn’t just that it was Frothy, the issue for a lot of parents and teachers was it was a mandatory assembly during school hours. I can not imagine the outcry if Nancy Pelosi was to speak at an all school mandatory assembly during school hours.

  15. andrew says

    Mabye he would just have talked to them about the agony of defeat. It is a topic he knows a lot about. In his last run for the U S Senate in Pennsylvania, he was defeated by over 700,000 votes. YEA!!!

  16. says

    So when he is being challenged, he gets upset, but when he challenges the rights of others, all is well? I don’t get it. BTW: “This has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions.”–Doesn’t this sound like a line from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech?

  17. GuyinGPP says

    @musclemodelblog… it does and it was probably intentional. MLK, JR spoke at GP South in 1968, a couple of weeks before being killed. I’m sure frothy was going to compare himself to MLK at some point.

  18. says

    Free speech may mean you have a right to say what you want, Frothy, but it also means other people have a right to not listen to you.

    But feel free to ignore that and carry on with your butthurt.

  19. woodroad34d says

    Rights of religion don’t supercede any other right. Their rights end at the nose of every other person’s right. If she doesn’t like Washington law let her move to Virginia or Idaho or some other bigoted state. I’m tired of emotionally immature and sociopathic conservatives. Time to join humanity or check out.

  20. MikeKV says

    Well, this is unfortunate — from the linked article:

    “Grosse Pointe Farms — Rick Santorum’s speaking engagement at Grosse Pointe South High School is back on, after school officials say they reached a compromise to allow parents to choose whether to send their child to the April 24 event.

    School officials on Monday had canceled the former presidential candidate’s scheduled speech to students, sparking a community uproar. The district announced at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday that parents will be sent an in-school permission form if they want their student to hear Santorum speak during an assembly at the school.”

  21. Houndentenor says

    If you stay up on these kinds of stories, whether right or left, atheist or religious or anything in between, you will find stories of school principals being inundated by school assemblies where the speaker said something or did something they’d never have approved had they known about it in advance. If I were a principal I would not allow anyone from outside the school to speak or perform without either a copy of their speech or a video of what they performance (music, theater or whatever) to view in advance. If you can’t provide that I would assume that you were planning on doing something you knew I wouldn’t approve (not so much because I don’t like it or disagree but because I don’t want angry parents jamming my phone lines and giving me a headache I don’t need). That’s not censorship. No one has a right to speak at a school they do not attend. They have to be invited and especially at the public school level anyone not aware of the political landmine of political speakers is being disingenuous. Given the number of lawsuits filed by social conservatives over such situations, you’d think Santorum of all people would understand. he does. He just wants to play the victim.

  22. Lymis says

    Sounds to me like Santorum’s own comments make it clear that he fully intends to talk about marriage and politics rather than leadership.

    If he didn’t intend to, his comments would have been more along the lines of “People have disagreements on specific hot-topic issues, but we can still discuss the fundamental principles we all share” – but no, this is about liberals keeping him from talking about traditional marriage.

    So, phooey, even if it does turn out to be back on.

  23. JONES says

    Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is involved here.

    Peter Fox is spoken of by Harwood in an email to parents as the vice chairnman of YAF.

    The Michigan State University chapter MSU-YAF is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Anybody near Grosse Point with info ??

  24. says

    I notice that too, JONES> YAF are as hilariously pious and hypocritical as …well, Santorum, Bachmann, et al.

    I don’t know what would be better, Santorum being drowned out to an unending sea of vocal “BOO”s, or to play to an audience of a dozen little bigots.

  25. Francis #1 says

    The speech is back on and apparently the overwhelming majority of parents back Santorum.

    So sad. At least parents that don’t want their kids inundated with hate don’t have to have their kids forced to hear Santorum peddle bigotry against us.

  26. says

    Alas, the kids whose parents are enlightened enough to keep their kids out of this bigot’s speech will have to continue going to class every day with the children of bigots who sure do love prejudice.

    sad sad sad.

    and with this whole debacle, there’s little doubt a lot of his speech will focus on the anti-intellectual GOP rhetoric about “intolerant liberals and gays” and blah blah blah.

    it’s one of the sad things about being in school – having to share space and class and time with children being reared to hate.

  27. Principal Skinner says

    Basically, Santorum is saying that The Children aren’t important enough for him to write his speech down in advance and have an administrator review it for appropriateness. If Santorum were serious about setting a good example for The Children, he would show them that he himself is NOT above the rules, and that he understands the need to have someone who is responsible for The Children review the content of mandatory school assemblies to make sure that they won’t be exposed to things their parents don’t want them to hear. Santorum is asking for SPECIAL PRIVILEGES, as if he considers himself BEYOND THE RULES, and ABOVE THE LAW. Some example he sets with his whining.

  28. says

    Dastius, it’s like that recurring joke on The Simpsons where the soft-drink company making a drink full of nothing but chemicals and preservatives calls it “Nature’s Goodness”

    National Organization for Marriage = anti-marriage group

    Patriotic Act = let’s spy on americans

    GOProud = as ashamed of being gay as our parents are at being related to us

    Gay Patriot.net = racist white eunuchs who love anti-gay conservatives and hate pro-gay liberals and also hate gays who have both spines and testicles

    American Family Association/Focus on the Family = dedicated to destroying families by encouraging them to loathe, disown and torment their gay children into submission and eventual suicide

    Rick Warren’s “The Purpose-Driven Life” = how to make your son kill himself before he reaches age 30

    it’s at the point where when one hears the words “freedom” and “patriot” and Family one instantly thinks of a bunch of strawman-spewing bigots with bibles in one hand and semis in the other.

  29. RHR IN TN says

    If Santorum has a right to speak, then so should the students. I think EVERYONE should attend this assembly, and challenge him if they feel like they should. He whined about not being allowed to speak. How hypocritical would he or the administration be if they silenced any students who didn’t agree with him? Go to the assembly! Speak up!

  30. simon says

    Why was he invited in the first place. Not that he has anything intelligent to say. They may as well invite a clown. At least that will be more entertaining.

  31. JONES says

    @Dastius

    YAF is insidiously anti gay. Go to their website and watch the ‘intro’ video in the center. The way to control the future is to control the education of our youth.

    For years I’ve wondered how Santorum who was such a huge failure in the political arena could keep coming back into play. This clown has serious money and power brokers hidden in the background.

    Smells of ALEC, CPAC, NRA & the Koch brothers.

  32. Dastius Krazitauc says

    Excellent post, @Lil Kiwi. I’m saving that one.

    @JONES, I went to the site. They’ve essentially built an altar to Ronald Reagan. Sad to see such young people listing Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Karl Rove as people to be admired, while vilifying Jimmy Carter.

  33. JONES says

    @Moz’s

    YAF would be the answer.

    Through YAF there is a nationwide system in place to indoctrinate American youth to their view of society. Inviting ‘prominent’ movement members to speak is part of that plan. Their hit list of available speakers is the who’s who of right wing lunacy.

    This comes to mind when I hear about schools or education boards and even entire state legislatures working to ban Gay school organizations or even Gay Straight Alliances. No check on the YAF though.

  34. James says

    I went to GP north around the time that the super intendent came on the job. I have to say this seems really consistent with district policy. I think the closest thing I heard to defining social policy was being warned of the dangers of drinking and unprotected sex. I think Mr. Frothy’s shitfit has more to do with the fact that he was going to launch into those social issues without a second thought. He also shows his true colors when berating an entire school system for wanting to remain neutral. I can tell you that as a student I tended to flock with groups that trended more liberal, but there were groups that would traditionally be seen as conservative.

  35. says

    He’s “not sure what the administrators in the Grosse Pointe Public School System are afraid of.”

    Well duh, they’re afraid you’re going to spout more hateful nonsense.

  36. Carter says

    Frothy Mix wanted to use his usual speech text that makes sure the students at Grosse Pointe High School were aware that anal sex was an option for them as they bloom into adults. They should have let him go on. No one is doing a better job in promoting the pleasures of anal sex than him.

  37. Bernie says

    as usual Mr. Santorum doesn’t understand the superintendent said a NEUTRAL speech, not anything more or anything less…..Santorum only has a one track mind……….

  38. DannyEastVillage says

    yes he DOES have the right to say whatever he wishes. that doesn’t entitle him to make a speech pushing his religious views at a public school.

  39. mvecera says

    Free speech? It was a paid appearance, wasn’t it?

    He is selling his brand. If there is no longer any market for what he is selling, he has no one but himself to blame.

    I can’t wait to walk my gay family through the Santorum exhibit at the Smithsonian with all the other extinct species.

  40. Joseph L says

    Jesus Harvey Milk Christ. It’s like if Faux News keeps equating “freedom of speech” with “freedom to an audience” enough times, it becomes true. Amazing how many of our elected officials are brain dead when it comes to basic American civics.

  41. Mark says

    >>> “anyone who has ever seen me speak knows I rarely use prepared text.”

    Anyone who has seen Santorum speak knows he barely uses coherent thought.

    We’re talking about someone who once referred to “the brave men and women who signed the Declaration of Independence.”

  42. Ryan says

    It’s interesting that Santorum made his snub about marriage equality when the school said nothing beyond it had to stay ‘neutral.’

    I guess that says as much about Santorum’s ability to stay neutral on his radical agenda as anything else he’d say in a speech.

  43. DC Arnold says

    Kudos to whomever pulled the plug on that semen/fecal mix. You know he was planning to spout the usual repug gibberish which lost them the election and thus by extension the nation. If it spares us asshats, I say repeal the first amendment.

  44. Carolyn Chehardy says

    If the Senator was invited there and let’s see, he’s a big boy and in his 50’s, what business is it of the schools what’s in his speech? He has to turn it in to them like he’s a school boy and have them check it before? Are you kidding me? This is insane, America… I remember when the president of Iran was allowed into our Universities and talked to our children here… Was his speech reviewed first? Bet not..But Rick has to have his reviewed first? Can this Country, America, possibly get any more screwed up? Keep up the good fight Rick. You’re a true Patriot! We love you, Carolyn

  45. Carolyn Chehardy says

    If the Senator was invited there and let’s see, he’s a big boy and in his 50’s, what business is it of the schools what’s in his speech? He has to turn it in to them like he’s a school boy and have them check it before? Are you kidding me? This is insane, America… I remember when the president of Iran was allowed into our Universities and talked to our children here… Was his speech reviewed first? Bet not..But Rick has to have his reviewed first? Can this Country, America, possibly get any more screwed up? Keep up the good fight Rick. You’re a true Patriot! We love you, Carolyn

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