Valedictorian’s Mic Cut Off After She Talks About Sexual Assault

Lulabel Seitz

Lulabel Seitz thought she had the ideal platform to discuss her sexual assault at her California high school; the graduation speech that she earned by finishing as the class valedictorian.

Seitz, 17, said it was turned off by the school's administration because she attempted to talk about her experience of being sexually assaulted at school.

That video shows Seitz delivering a version of the speech that 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 lovely", per the Chronicle. "We have all achieved unlikely dreams".

School officials silenced the sound system after she veered off a preapproved speech.

Petaluma high principal told the San Francisco Chronicle that the school was trying to make sure the graduation ceremony was appropriate and handsome.

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"When they cut my mic, I was appalled at them", Seitz told the Press Democrat.

At first, she talked about how her fellow classmates should feel proud for overcoming obstacles to graduate and pursue their dreams, and she said she never thought she would be the valedictorian as the daughter of parents who left high school early.

Others say the graduation ceremony was not the right time to speak out.

Seitz said the school administration feared the truth.

People on social media have called out the school for trying to silence a courageous voice. "And then I see just a lot of people watching and they're like, 'Well what am I going to do now?' I'm like, 'I'm going to take my stand'". "Sometimes we know what's right and have to do it despite the threats". "I just think they got scared because I was going to call out them".

Seitz's story captured national attention amid the ongoing MeToo movement, which has empowered victims of sexual assault to speak out against the incidents.

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

Assistant Principal Deborah Richardson told the Press Democrat that students had to audition for their speeches.

Seitz planned to bring up her account of a student that assaulted her last fall, she told ABC News. "We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed".

"If the school is providing the forum, then the school has the ability to have some control over the message", Rose told the newspaper.

Public school students do have strong First Amendment protections.

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 is the granddaughter of a single mother. 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.

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