After Students Protest, First Lady Scraps Grad Speech

She will speak at Topeka event a day earlier instead

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2014 4:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – High school students in Topeka, Kansas, have decided they would rather have friends and family members at their graduation ceremony than Michelle Obama. The first lady ditched plans to speak at a combined commencement ceremony for five high schools after students protested that security concerns would limit the number of tickets available to just six per student. Instead, Obama will speak at a "Senior Recognition Day" the day before, The Hill reports.

Parents and students were also concerned that the first lady's presence would detract attention from the graduates, the Topeka Capital-Journal notes. A petition asking the school board to change the event gained more than 1,750 signatures. "Once we learned about the concerns of some students, we were eager to find a solution that enabled all of the students and their families to celebrate the special day," says a spokeswoman for the first lady, whose remarks will focus on the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka case that desegregated public schools. (In more bad news for Michelle, at least one columnist thinks the First Lady position shouldn't even exist.)

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at a jobs fair for soldiers and spouses in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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