Atlanta High School Senior’s Cryptic Message Nearly Torpedoes Graduation

Paris Gray is vice president of Mundy's Mill High School senior class, a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Beta Club, and an all-around leader on the suburban Atlanta, Ga., campus.

But she was suspended from school and almost forced to sit out the May 28 graduation exercises—including an inspirational speech she was to deliver–at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta—because of her yearbook message that left school administrators fuming.

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

At the time, it seemed like a simple comment and did not cause any harm.

After administrators looked into it on May 16, they learned that by using the periodic table of elements spelled “To back that a** up.” Administrators didn’t get it, she said.

“Basically, it was me just saying start all over again,” Gray told WSB-TV. “You have to go back and start all over.”

In addition to being suspended from school, Gray was barred from participating in the senior walk and struck from the graduation program.

But, after Gray and her family met with the school's principal and the area superintendent May 20, all was forgiven. School officials apologized for misunderstanding the message she was trying to convey and said they would not deny her the opportunity to deliver a speech at graduation. The superintendent challenged her to “give the best speech ever,” according to WSB-TV.

According to WKRN-TV, Gray plans to attend Nashville’s Tennessee State University in the fall

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Atlanta High School Senior's Cryptic Message Nearly Torpedoes Graduation


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