Valedictorian Lulabel Seitz talks to Petaluma High School Principal David Stirrat after her microphone was shut off by school officials as she gave a commencement speech. The Petaluma High School senior became the first member in her family to graduate on June 9.
"But the reason I share this story with you is not because I think it's unique, in fact quite the opposite. We have all achieved unlikely dreams". She had already planned to mention a teachers' strike from a year ago and wanted to address her school's treatment of assault victims without naming her harasser.
"The class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a newer 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...", she said before her mic was abruptly cut off.
One of the alleged assaults Seitz planned to bring up during her speech was an attack she says happened to her last fall.
"I didn't think I'd be standing here as your valedictorian", she said. As in, her school literally turned her mic off while she was in the middle of her speech.
The teenager claims her school continually censors students, adding, "It wasn't an easy thing to do to get up there and say what I sad - or tried to say". "Her speech, then barely audible, continued, ".in which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims". Time and time again, the Class of 2018 has demonstrated that although we may be a new generation, we are not too young to speak up, to dream, and to create tangible, positive change.
"We can say that when issues of sexual assault come to our attention, local law enforcement has initial jurisdiction and determines the course of action".
"In Lulabel's case, her approved speech didn't include any reference to an assault", he said. "We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed", he said.
Watch the viral video of the student's speech at her graduation ceremony! .
Petaluma high principal told the San Francisco Chronicle that the school was trying to make sure the graduation ceremony was appropriate and handsome.
"They made all these rules to prevent me from speaking", Seitz said. "Sometimes we know what's right and have to do it despite the threats".
She posted the actual speech - as well as the rest of what she was planning to say - on YouTube.
Actress Mira Sorvino has tweeted about the incident, saying Ms Seirz is a "a fierce truth teller".
In a video of the incident, the teen is visibly upset as she yells inaudible words to someone off camera.