A high school valedictorian’s mic was cut off as she began listing the names of black teens killed by police at the end of her speech.
What We Know:
- Rooha Haghar was the valedictorian for the 2019 graduating class at Emmet J. Conrad High School in Dallas, Texas. On June 3rd, Haghar was giving her speech to the graduating class when her mic was cut off immediately after she said the names of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.
- She tweeted a video of the incident that has gone viral. In the video, it shows how she begins to speak and then the principal, Temesghen Asmerom, motions and she can no longer be heard. In the caption she says, “My valedictorian speech was cut short because I said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality. Our principal signaled for my mic to be cut off as soon as I said, ‘Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice’ and played it off as a technical difficulty. Pathetic.”
- Haghar tweeted that she read the speech to one of her teachers and the principal a week before graduation. The teacher told her to remove the names and the line completely because it would “incite anger towards which people, experience high levels of discrimination in America.” She also tweeted that the principal told her to also remove the line because it didn’t comply with the Dallas Independent School District valedictorian speech guidelines. Haghar said she never had access to those.
- As she shared her full speech on Twitter, she tweeted, “I knew the risk I was taking but I never expected to be silenced.” The video has gained a massive following on social media as some people express their disappointment, while others commend her for speaking up in the first place.
- After the incident, the Dallas Independent School Distract made a statement to CBS News saying, “In Dallas ISD, we educate leaders of tomorrow and encourage student voices, and we are looking into this matter.”
The principal has not commented at this time.