California valedictorian veers off script, has mic silenced

  • California valedictorian veers off script, has mic silenced

California valedictorian veers off script, has mic silenced

A California high school valedictorian's speech was cut short when she started talking about being sexually assaulted.

"When they cut my mic, I was appalled at them", she tells The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

"Lulabel Seitz is a fierce truth teller and they tried to silence her- don't you understand sexual assault victims will be silenced no more????" she wrote on Twitter.

The valedictorian later posted a full version of her planned speech to YouTube, which read, "And even learning on a campus in which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims, we didn't let that drag us down".

David Stirrat, the principal of the school, said they'd received emailed complaints warning them that Seitz might go off-script.

Lulabel Seitz is a high school senior who just graduated with a GPA between 4.6 and 4.7, got accepted to Stanford University for an Applied Mathematics and Economics major, and became the first in her family to graduate from high school. "We have all achieved unlikely dreams". School officials cut her mic in the middle of that, NPR reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the school's principal, David Stirrat, stands by the decision, saying, "We were trying to make sure our graduation ceremony was appropriate and handsome". "I felt like I was worthless", Seitz later told CNN. The school district tells the San Francisco Chronicle it told all students who were making previously approved speeches their mics would be turned off if they strayed from what had been OKed.

Others say the graduation ceremony was not the right time to speak out. "It's censoring students", Seitz said.

Speaking to local newspaperThe Press Democrat, Stirrat explained that Seitz's approved speech did not include references to assault. "We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed". "For weeks, they have threatened me against "speaking against them" in my speech. Sometimes we know what's right and have to do it despite the threats". Apparently, administrators learned of her intentions before graduation and warned her against mentioning sexual harassment onstage.

"Just based on the patterns of where my speech was going - I was just saying some people, it was very vague. It wasn't easy thing to do to get up there and say what I said - or tried to say".

Dave Rose, an assistant superintendent said cutting of Seitz's mic wasn't an infringement of her freedom of speech.

In a statement, the school district's assistant superintendent said, "Due to student privacy issues, we can not and should not respond with specific information".

Public school students do have strong First Amendment protections. She was raised by a single mother, the child of immigrants from the Philippines. That led to plenty of criticism for the school's decision to silence Lulabel, especially amid allegations that they did not properly investigate her assault allegations.