A California high school senior's commencement speech abruptly ended after the school’s administrators cut her microphone right before she began to speak about sexual assault.
When Lulabel Seitz, the class valedictorian of Petaluma High School, strayed away from her approved speech, school officials disconnected her mic after approximately four minutes. Seitz graduated on June 2 with a GPA over 4.0 and was accepted to Stanford University, according to the Washington Post.
Seitz's speech began with remarks about the challenges she and her classmates overcame throughout their four years. She also said she was the granddaughter of Filipino immigrants and was the first in her family to graduate from high school.
“The class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a new generation, but we are not too young to speak up, to dream and to create change, which is why, even when some people on this campus, those same people—," Seitz said before her mic was cut. In the video people in the crowd shouted, "Let her speak."
According to a video uploaded to YouTube of Seitz reading her full speech, she was planning to say, “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. The class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a new generation but we are not too young to speak up, to dream, and to create change.”
Seitz said she was sexually assaulted by one of her classmates and wanted to highlight the lack of action by school administrators.
“When they cut my mic, I was appalled at them,” Seitz told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Petaluma administrators continue to stand by their decision to end her speech.
"We were trying to make sure our graduation ceremony was appropriate and beautiful," Petaluma Principal David Stirrat told The San Francisco Chronicle. Stirrat also said in an email to The Post that students were warned that their speech would be cut if they deviated from their approved script.
Administrators said they would have "considered" the addition of Seitz speaking out about her alleged sexual assault if Seitz did not explicitly mention an individual's name.
Seitz told The Post that she never intended to reveal a particular name. She also did not mention a name before her mic was cut.
“I thought this is a public school with freedom of speech,” Seitz told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “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.”
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