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Valedictorian: My Mic Was Cut Due to 'Fear of the Truth'

17-year-old Lulabel Seitz was silenced when she started talking about sexual assault
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2018 8:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – As valedictorian of California's Petaluma High School, Lulabel Seitz took to the podium at the June 2 graduation to give the commencement speech. But a few minutes in, after speaking on typical topics like good times and facing adversity, the 17-year-old broached a not-so-typical subject: sexual assault. "The Class of 2018 has shown 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 began, per KPIX. "Which is why, even when some people, those same people defended perpetrators of sexual assault and silenced their victims, we didn't let that drag us down." School officials cut her mic in the middle of that, NPR reports. The school district tells the San Francisco Chronicle it told all students who were making previously approved speeches their mics would be turned off if they strayed from what had been OKed.

But Seitz wasn't done speaking. She later told KPIX she felt compelled to speak on the subject because she herself had been sexually assaulted by another student—which she says the school didn't act on when she reported it; in a statement, the school cited "privacy issues" and wouldn't go into detail on her claim. She also tells CNN she was warned by administrators against mentioning the alleged assault because "it wouldn't help." Seitz, who's headed to Stanford in the fall, has since uploaded her entire speech to YouTube, with an intro note that says: "In fear of the truth, the administration cut my microphone as I was speaking." As of press time, the video had more than 255,000 views. 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 beautiful," per the Chronicle. (Read more high school graduation stories.)

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