Published: Mon, June 11, 2018

California valedictorian veers off script, has mic…

California valedictorian veers off script, has mic…

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

Petaluma High School senior Lulabel Seitz was the first member of her family to graduate high school and did so as her class' valedictorian, The (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Press Democratreported. In the expanded version, she said students hadn't let it drag them down when some on campus defended perpetrators of sexual violence and silenced their victims.

Even before graduation, Seitz said officials from the school were putting pressure on her to avoid any mention of the alleged assaults. "We have all achieved unlikely dreams". Then, her mic was purposefully cut off.

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 lovely".

"They just told me to not talk about it because it wouldn't help", she told CNN a week after the graduation ceremony.

She noted that the school had weathered a teacher's strike and closures during the fires that raged last fall in Sonoma County, which she said had claimed some students' homes. Even after four years of working our hardest and becoming the best class Petaluma High has ever seen, just to be told be those same some people that our love of learning, art, drama, music - anything - wasn't valuable enough to be funded, well, we didn't let that drag us down either.

According to Seitz, "they do this a lot, they make students be quiet", whenever anyone is openly critical of the school. "This is for my class that stood up and said 'let her speak.' Even if the administration doesn't give me a mic, I still want to speak". "It wasn't easy thing to do to get up there and say what I said - or tried to say".


"We're all celebrating us leaving, you know?"

Stirrat said the students were welcome to include potentially controversial material in their speeches.

The school's assistant principal told the teen "the expectation is that the speech you submitted is the speech you will give", the Press Democrat reported.

"In Lulabel's case, her approved speech didn't include any reference to an assault", David Stirrat told The Washington Post. "We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed", he said.

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".

'A public school is a state run institution and funded by the federal government.

The school district said Thursday that "due to privacy issues", it can't respond publicly to the allegations, ABC 7 reported. She talks about being the granddaughter of immigrants to the USA from the Philippines, and being raised by a single mom. The video, which shows the moment she was cut off while speaking at graduation, had been viewed more than 45,000 times as of Saturday afternoon.

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