High school cuts short valedictorian's speech about being sexually assaulted

Clay Curtis
June 12, 2018

Disconcert has come to the fore with the revelation of a California high school valedictorian being abruptly cut off while attempting to speak about sexual assault during her graduation speech.

Seitz posted a video to YouTube documenting what happened during her June 2 graduation, with the first portion of the video taken by a classmate, showing the moment her microphone was cut off. "Let her speak!" But adamant the school administrators were, they did not connect the mic and after a minute of silence, Lulabel went back to her seat. In the later part of the video, the graduate said that she reported sexual assault, and the school authorities took no action.

That speech contains the line: 'Even learning on a campus where some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims, we didn't let that drag us down'.

School principal David Stirrat still maintains that the decision to cut Seitz's mic was the right one, as they wanted to "make sure our graduation ceremony was appropriate and attractive", per the Chronicle.

Seitz said, "We have all had unlikely dreams, and overcome obstacles to achieve them, because adversity isn't the rare, monumental idea we made it out to be in our freshman year English essays".

Her mic was cut and there was an awkward silence in the audience.

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".

The Press Democrat reported that Seitz was frustrated by what she claimed was a lack of action from the administration on a claim of sexual misconduct.

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"I didn't think I'd be standing here as your valedictorian", she said.

The school has declined to comment on the alleged s‌‌‌‌e‌‌x‌‌‌u‌‌al a‌s‌sa‌u‌lt Seitz said took place on the campus a year ago due to student privacy laws. Administrators said later that they may have approved the topic, but that speakers were told not to stray from approved remarks. "Sometimes we know what's right and have to do it". "The school continually censors students", said Ms Seitz.

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

"In Lulabel's case, her approved speech didn't include any reference to an a‌ssau‌lt", he said. "We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed", he said. Apparently, administrators learned of her intentions before graduation and warned her against mentioning sexual harassment onstage. "I just think they got scared because I was going to call out them".

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

The student then speaks about the school weathering a teacher's strike and closures, as well as fires that raged in Sonoma County a few months ago. She was raised by a single mother, the child of immigrants from the Philippines.

The graduate told NPR, "They specifically told me not to mention how they handled my sexual assault case and other sexual assault cases in general".

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