A high school senior in Clayton County, Georgia may not be allowed to give a speech at her graduation because the cryptic quote she used in her yearbook was, according to the school, inappropriate.
Paris Gray is a senior at Mundy’s Mill High School and serves as the senior class vice president. She is a promising student with a bright future, but the school may ruin that over an innocent science joke that she used as her yearbook quote.
“When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus,” reads the senior’s quote.
While this may not make sense at first glance, it actually means something entirely different when read using the symbols for the elements.
“When the going gets tough just remember to back that ass up.”
School officials found out about the quote’s secret meaning after the yearbook was already published, and now, they’re punishing Gray. She has already received in-school suspension, was not allowed to participate in her senior walk, and now, administration says she may not be allowed to give a speech at graduation.
"I think their reaction was beyond what it should have been because nobody understood it,” said Gray.
Her mother Zarinah Woods joked about her initial reaction to finding out the true meaning of the quote.
“My first reaction was, you are such a nerd," said Woods.
"Basically, it was me just saying start all over again," explained Gray. "You have to go back and start all over. 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.”
The school district says they have yet to decide if Gray will be allowed to give her big speech at graduation.