This valedictorian began to talk about sexual misconduct at her graduation. Then her mic was cut.

But about four minutes into her speech at the school’s graduation ceremony on June 2, the microphone she was speaking into was disconnected.

Seitz had arrived at a part of her speech that touched on sexual assault allegations at the school, without naming anyone in particular, according to a video she later uploaded to YouTube. But school administrators had cut her off at the moment she deviated from a script that she had previously submitted to them, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

David Stirrat, the principal of the public high school, told The Washington Post by email that students had submitted their speeches for approval, then practiced with a panel. They had been warned that if they went off script, the microphone could be cut off, he said.

.. 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.

But it was in her next sentence that school administrators decided to silence. She began it by saying that “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 — ”

The mic cut off. The video shows the awkward silence that ensued on the field. After a few seconds, a few students in the audience stand and clap, with some beginning to chant, “Let her speak!”

According to the version of the speech that she read later and posted to YouTube, Seitz planned 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.

.. “For weeks, they have threatened me against ‘speaking against them’ in my speech. Sometimes we know what’s right and have to do it.”


.. Legally speaking, they had no right to “pre-approve” the speech. They had the option to choose who spoke, but had no rights over the content. Particularly for an 18 year old adult speaking.  Schools have the right to censor speech that is disruptive to the learning process, and to maintain discipline. Neither of these applied at a graduation, and a public forum doesn’t get to decide “appropriate”.

.. Nothing says ‘guilty’ like cutting off a speech that you fear is going to mention sexual misconduct at the school.

Nothing says guilty like censoring a speech to ensure nomination is made of sexual misconduct at the school.

.. The top equestrian coach, the Olympic swimming coach, the USC campus doctor, the President of the United States, all have been accused of years and years of sexual assaults.

And we say “How is it possible that no one speaks out?”

Well, we just witnessed how it happens. People in authority and high positions are protected. It’s unconscionable, but it’s true.