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Posted: May 20, 2014

School district apologizes over yearbook quote incident

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By Carl Willis

WSB-TV - Atlanta

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —

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UPDATE: Paris Gray and her family met with the school's principal and the area superintendent on Tuesday. They apologized for the miscommunication and said they would not deny her giving a speech at graduation. The superintendent challenged her to "give the best speech ever."

This an update to a previous story. The original story is below

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A Georgia teen says fallout over her quote in the yearbook is threatening to ruin her senior year.

Paris Gray is a senior class vice president at Mundy's Mill High School in suburban Atlanta, a member of SADD, the Beta Club, and a leader on campus. 

Now, she could be kept from walking at graduation next week. 

"I think their reaction was beyond what it should have been because nobody understood it," Gray said. 

She received an in-school suspension and was kept from participating in a senior walk last Friday after yearbooks were distrubuted, all due to a quote she left near her portrait.

The message was: "When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus."

>> See some of the most memorable commencement speeches ever

Gray said the message wasn't flagged by any editors or adults.

Friday, administrators learned that by using periodic table the elements spelled "To back that as_ up."

"My first reaction was, you are such a nerd," said Gray's mother Zarinah Woods.

"Basically, it was me just saying start all over again," said Gray. "You have to go back and start all over." 

Administrators were not pleased.

Paris was kept from participating in the senior walk, and she was slated to give the inspirational speech at the graduation ceremony, but says an assistant principal told her she was out.

"It just completely destroyed me, and my mom's been telling me don't let it ruin my happiness but it's like really taking a big toll," said Gray.

The principal called shortly after the mother and daughter spoke with Willis. 

A school district spokesperson says that no decision has been made and that the area superintendent and the principal would meet with Gray's mother Tuesday morning.

 
 

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