Periodic Table Quote Gets Student Suspended

But school will let her speak at graduation after all after yearbook brouhaha

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2014 11:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – It seems school administrators in Clayton County, Georgia, should take another chemistry class: Yearbooks had already been distributed at Mundy’s Mill High School by the time they decoded a secret—and somewhat racy—message in the quote selected by the senior class vice president. Paris Gray's quote read, "When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus." The problem? When you decode those elements by looking at their symbols on the periodic table, the last part of the message translates to, "Back that a-- up." Miffed administrators gave her an in-school suspension and banned her from participating in a senior walk last week, and told her she couldn't speak at next week's graduation ceremony as planned, reports WSB-TV.

After media outcry and a meeting with Gray's family yesterday, however, the school’s principal and the area superintendent changed their minds—Gray will be allowed behind the podium. Before the yearbook was published, no editors or adults noticed any problem with her quote, and she was surprised by the school’s eventual reaction since "nobody understood it.” Her mother's reaction? She called her daughter "such a nerd." As for why Gray chose to use that particular quote, "Basically, it was me just saying start all over again," she explains. "You have to go back and start all over." Gray is headed to Nashville's Tennessee State University in the fall, WKRN notes.

  (Shutterstock)
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