High School Student's Speech About Campus Sexual Assault Gets Widespread Attention After School Cuts Her Mic

from the streisand-high dept

It's that time of year when kids are graduating from high school, and the age old tradition of the valedictorian speech is happening all around the country. While exciting for the kids, families and other students, these kinds of speeches are generally pretty quickly forgotten and certainly tend not to make the national news. However, in nearby Petaluma, California, something different is happening, all because a bunch of spineless school administration officials freaked out that the valedictorian, Lulabel Seitz, wanted to discuss sexual assault. During her speech, the school cut her mic when she started talking about that issue (right after talking about how the whole community had worked together and fought through lots of adversity, including the local fires that ravaged the area a few months back). Seitz has since posted the video of both her mic being cut off and then with her being filmed giving the entire speech directly to a camera.

And, of course, now that speech -- and the spineless jackasses who cut the mic -- are getting national news coverage. The story of her speech and the mic being cut has been on NPR, CBS, ABC, CNN, Time, the NY Post, the Washington Post and many, many more.

In the ABC story, she explains that they told her she wasn't allowed to "go off script" (even pulling out of a final exam to tell her they heard rumors she was going to go off speech and that she wasn't allowed to say anything negative about the school) and that's why the mic was cut, even as the school didn't know what she was going to say. She also notes -- correctly -- that it was a pretty scary thing for her to continue to go through with the speech she wanted to give, despite being warned (for what it's worth, decades ago, when I was in high school, I ended up in two slightly similar situations, with the administration demanding I edit things I was presenting -- in one case I caved and in one I didn't -- and to this day I regret caving). Indeed, she deserves incredible kudos for still agreeing to give her speech, and it's great to see the Streisand Effect make so many more people aware of (1) her speech and (2) what a bunch of awful people the administrators at her school are for shutting her speech down.

As for the various administrators, their defense of this action is ridiculous. They're quoted in a few places, but let's take the one from the Washington Post:

“In Lulabel’s case, her approved speech didn’t include any reference to an assault,” [Principal David Stirrat] said. “We certainly would have considered such an addition, provided no individuals were named or defamed.”

As Seitz notes, she never intended to name names, and the school had told her so many times not to talk about these things it was obvious to her that she wouldn't have been able to give that speech if she had submitted the full version. In the ABC interview she explained that rather than just letting the valedictorian speak as normal, the school had actually told her she had to "apply" to speak.

Dave Rose, an assistant superintendent, told the Press Democrat that he could remember only one other time that administrators had disconnected a microphone during a student’s graduation speech in the past seven years, but said he believed it was legal.

“If the school is providing the forum, then the school has the ability to have some control over the message,” Rose said.

Actually, that's not how the First Amendment works. Schools can limit some things, but not if it's based on the content of the message, which appears to be the case here. Of course, I doubt that Seitz is going to go to court over this as it's not worth it, but thanks to the Streisand Effect, she doesn't need to. The world has learned about her speech... and about how ridiculous the administrators are in her school district.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:03pm

    Power goes to the head, and destroys it

    Man o man, how doth power corrupt. They want to control so much their grip keeps getting tighter and tighter, and the thing they wish to control just squeezes out of the tube.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Power goes to the head, and destroys it

      They want to control so much their grip keeps getting tighter and tighter, and the thing they wish to control just squeezes out of the tube.

      First, huh? "out of the tube"? Is that yet another dig at OOTB? Or just lousy phrase picked out of the blue?

      Anyhoo, your apparent notion is that ONE person has the right to HIJACK the attention of several hundred persons at an arranged venue for specific purpose. THEREFORE I expect your future support for my little bits of text HERE. Thanks!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re: Power goes to the head, and destroys it

        Yes, every phrase you haven't heard of must be a specifically planned attack.

        Also, a person chosen to give a speech giving a speech is not "hijacking" anything.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 10:10pm

        Re: Re: Power goes to the head, and destroys it

        There once was an out of the blue
        Who hated the process of due
        Each film that he'd paid
        Was DMCAed
        And shoved up his ass with a screw

        Consider yourself hijacked.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:21pm

    Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

    "If the school is providing the forum, then the school has the ability to have some control over the message," Rose said.

    To which Manick snipes:

    Actually, that's not how the First Amendment works.

    REALLY? After going on in other pieces that corporations have a "First Amendment Right" to control the speech and outlets of "natural" persons, regardless of The Public's First Amendments rights -- and that "platforms" are now Public Forums in the Sandvig decision -- REALLY, you can just blithely REVERSE and say person has absolute right to just HIJACK a large venue for pet topic?

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:21pm

      Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

      First, NO, this isn't "government": it's A PUBLIC GATHERING FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSE. Lots of people showed up, and it's THEIR time.

      The person was warned ahead of time and had stated agreed to terms, then tried to hijack the whole event. -- BY the way, this kind of hijacking started at Academy Awards, WAY back.

      OKAY. So next time I'M accused of hijacking topic here, Manick now supports me... Oh, right. Back to an alleged public / private distinction (despite the Sandvig decision that I mention above).

      I'm somehow always on the wrong end! -- Either that or it's Manick who reverses whenever suits him!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:33pm

        Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

        High schools are funded with government money. This isn't a private enterprise's event. Now, there's precedent and debate over pupils and curtailed rights on campuses, but that's a different debate over if high schools are public or private ventures.

        And you're only wrong because you can't seem to spot a difference between platforms and representation, not because of some conspiracy to say 'NO U' no matter what. And considering in another comment thread you demonstrated that you don't even understand what a common turn of phrase 'squeezing something out of the tube' means, I personally doubt your ability to think and understand what is being presented to you.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

        How are you completely oblivious on literally every subject?

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    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:31pm

      Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

      Public schools are 1. built by the government 2. managed by the government and 3. funded by the government.

      The fact that it is not a governing BODY does not separate it from being a government ENTITY. Any activity run by it constitutes a public forum in the legal sense and therefore the first amendment absolutely applies.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

        I completely agree. Public schools are a facility that is managed, maintained and funded by a government entity (City, state, or federal) The 1st amendment should apply.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:46pm

      Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

      REALLY? After going on in other pieces that corporations have a "First Amendment Right" to control the speech and outlets of "natural" persons, regardless of The Public's First Amendments rights -- and that "platforms" are now Public Forums in the Sandvig decision -- REALLY, you can just blithely REVERSE and say person has absolute right to just HIJACK a large venue for pet topic?

      1. This is a government institution (public school) which means that different rules apply.

      2. She was giving a speech, not hijacking a venue.

      3. You know this, but thanks for trolling.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

        Mike, she hijacked the venue.

        She UNDERSTOOD that giving the Valedictory Speech was a PRIVILEGE, and that she was REQUIRED to have her speech vetted AND that she was ONLY to recite that speech.

        OBVIOUSLY. Simple rules. Which she proved incapable of following.

        THAT says a lot more about the "quality of education" that school provided than their cutting off the mic AS SHE KNEW THEY WOULD DO when she decided that she'd rather pontificate than follow the rules.

        How long would one of the writers HERE stay employed if all they wrote about, regardless of what you directed them to, was the cheese shortage in Antarctica?

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        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

          I would think a better question would be, what does a valedictorian speech need vetting?

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          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

            Not what, why. Damn my editor, who is me.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 14 Jun 2018 @ 5:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

              Because you will obey, obey, obey!

              "You will co-operate with the state for the good of the state and your own survival. You will confess to the crimes of which you have been accused. You will be released and returned to the society a productive citizen if you co-operate. Resistance will be punished, co-operation will be rewarded." Interrogator, Babylon 5

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        • identicon
          David McConnell, 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

          I'm with Mike on this one.

          The college I attended rejects all federal funding because if they accept the public money, they aren't allowed to discriminate against certain speech (in this case certain religious speech). Grove City College vs. Bell

          The only reason this would be considered a 'hijacking' is because the content of the speech didn't match what they desired. The school was doing blatant censorship. If they want the public funds, then they definitely can't pre-approve what speech is allowed, valedictorian speech or not.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

          Mike, she hijacked the venue.

          No, she didn't.

          She UNDERSTOOD that giving the Valedictory Speech was a PRIVILEGE, and that she was REQUIRED to have her speech vetted AND that she was ONLY to recite that speech.

          No. First, from her interview, it's clear that the valedictorian every years gets to give a speech of her own choosing. Second, as a public institution, the school is literally NOT ALLOWED to regulate it based on its content.

          OBVIOUSLY. Simple rules. Which she proved incapable of following.

          Simple rules that discriminate based on the content of a speech. Which is unconstitutional.

          How long would one of the writers HERE stay employed if all they wrote about, regardless of what you directed them to, was the cheese shortage in Antarctica?

          This site, of course, is not a government institution.

          Which part of that is confusing to you?

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          • identicon
            Norman Prather, 12 Jun 2018 @ 6:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

            Wait!!!!
            There is a cheese shortage in Antarctica? Why isn't this front page news? I'll have to ask my son (TV news producer) if he has been burying important stories...again.

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            • identicon
              Monsieur Ratflexer, 13 Jun 2018 @ 5:27am

              ANTARTCTIC FERMENTED CURD SHORTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              As requested, here is a partial list of cheeses that you'll have some difficulty purchasing in Antarctica this week.

              Red Leicester
              Tilsit
              Caerphilly
              Bel Paese
              Red Windsor
              Stilton
              Gruyère
              Emmental
              Norwegian Jarlsberg
              Liptauer
              Lancashire
              White Stilton
              Danish Blue
              Double Gloucester
              Cheshire
              Dorset Blue Vinney
              Brie
              Roquefort
              Pont l'Evêque
              Port Salut
              Savoyard [6]
              Saint-Paulin
              Carré de l'Est
              Boursin
              Bresse-Bleu
              Perle de Champagne
              Camembert
              Gouda
              Edam
              Caithness
              Smoked Austrian
              Japanese Sage Derby
              Wensleydale
              Greek Feta
              Gorgonzola
              Parmesan
              Mozzarella
              Pipo Crem' [7]
              Danish Fynbo
              Czechoslovakian sheep's milk cheese
              Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
              Cheddar
              Ilchester
              Limburger
              Stinking Bishop

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          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 14 Jun 2018 @ 5:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

            Which part of that is confusing to you?

            The First Amendment.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

          I'm sorry that your education apparently came from authoritarians.

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          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 14 Jun 2018 @ 5:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

            Hilariously, any minute now he will announce that he's libertarian. Then he'll declare that he doesn't want to be forced to pay his tax dollars towards supporting speech he disapproves of. He wants use his money to pick and choose which students get the opportunity to be valedictorian so they make the kind of speeches he approves of.

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      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 3:46pm

        Re: Re: Your notion of Public Forums is not consistent except with YOU!

        Why is it that to get even a semblance of justice, a citizen must seek redress -- that will be limited to a cash payout in all probability -- in civil court?

        After all, any rights violation you can sue for and win under 42 USC 1983 is also a criminal matter under 18 USC 241 & 242 -- and if the portion of the school administration denying her her rights consisted of 2 or more people, they committed a felony in doing so!

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    icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:23pm

    Seriously?

    "As Seitz notes, she never intended to name names, and the school had told her so many times not to talk about these things it was obvious to her that she wouldn't have been able to give that speech if she had submitted the full version."

    She KNEW she was REQUIRED to give the speech she submitted for vetting, was warned multiple times to NOT do what she did anyway, and you want us to feel sorry for her? Or vindictive against the school administration for doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY SAID THEY WOULD DO?

    This is NO different than a Judge citing someone for Contempt.

    It's EXACTLY the same. Although a Judge usually only gives ONE warning, unlike this case where she was warned multiple times.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Seriously?

      There isn't much value judgment here outside of a first amendment issue (one that's been mostly settled against minor's favor), but that this is a typical streisand effect situation, where the party who tried to silence something brought more attention to be only because they tried to silence it.

      Which has more impact? A comment that the school needs to do more about sexual assault, or censoring an attempt to say that during the current #metoo social atmosphere and hiding behind "BUT THE RULES SAID..." when it blows up in your face?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:50pm

      Re: Seriously?

      Person A demands something stupid. Person B ignores stupid demand.

      HOW DARE B BE UPSET.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 3:08am

      Re: Seriously?

      "you want us to feel sorry for her? Or vindictive "

      As ever with you people, you appear to have completely missed the points actually being discussed. Maybe you wouldn't be so angry and hateful against this site if you actually took time to process the arguments being made.

      The first point is that, being a government institution, the school should really not be telling an invited speaker what to say. If they're that scared of controversy, pick a different student to speak or find another way to encourage her to change the script she's following.

      The other point is that in choosing not only to silence her, but doing so in the way that they did, they have created far more publicity for the words than if they had done nothing. The act of censorship not only got her to publish the whole thing online, but got many thousands more people over the world to see it, and many, many more being made aware of it through international press.

      Nobody's asking you to feel sorry for the student. They're asking you to understand that the school was both out of order and have attracted far more attention to the issue they were trying to silence through their own actions. That your takeaway was that the student should have offered nothing but blind obedience says a lot about you, none of it good.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:27am

      Re: Seriously?

      You do not know much about how laws and a courthouse works do you?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 7:40am

      Re: Seriously?

      This sounds a lot like:
      She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:40pm

    lawsuits can be educational

    When courts tell school administrators that they can't control content of speech, administrators often just yank the forum instead.

    It happened at my high school when clubs were given the opportunity to paint a mural in a hall. The Junior Statesman/Model-UN club decided to paint an image of the constitution visible through the holes in a burning flag. They had to go to court (with pro-bono attorneys) to get the school to allow it. Shortly thereafter, all murals were painted over and no one was allowed to do that again. In Lulabel's case, I can imagine the school no longer allowing valedictorian speeches.

    While the legal victory seemed short lived for us. It made a lasting impression on me and was one of the most educational experiences I got out of high school. I know it may sound weird, but to this day, no other image stirs patriotic feelings in me more than a burning flag and the freedom of speech it represents.

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    • icon
      keithzg (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:24pm

      Re: lawsuits can be educational

      That's a really interesting story, and brings up how positive of a teaching lesson such things can be. Sometimes I feel like the most valuable lessons I got in school were in the range and scope of arbitrariness, defensiveness and spinelessness of authority—and also how much a single act can sometimes leave them sputtering.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:55pm

    They could have acted like adults and both respected the Constitution and taken the sexual assault issue serious and announced initiatives to investigate and try to prevent future incidents. But why be a sensible adult when we can shoot our collective feet?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      Why should they take the Constitution seriously? No one else does... most people will happily take a dump on the constitution when it benefits their politics. We are not likely to see a Democrat come to the aid of a falsely persecuted Republican or a Republican come to the aid of a falsely persecuted Democrat.

      And that goes the same for sexual assault? The only people taking it seriously are those that it has happened too. Not only they they only take is seriously in one direction too. Assault on females gets marginal attention, assault no males gets no attention, and females falsely accusing males of sexual assault receive special protections and rarely do they get into any trouble for it.

      There are many feet to be shot... and more than enough ammo to get the job done several times over! There are for more senseless adults voting than sensible ones.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:26am

        Re: Re:

        "most people will happily take a dump on the constitution when it benefits their politics."

        Most politicians, most people have a bit more self respect.


        "the only people taking it seriously are those that it has happened too."

        Wrong again.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:05pm

    Some might have heard, now LOTS have

    Given how badly the administrators shot their foot here you almost want to think they did it on purpose in order to draw attention to the speech.

    I don't think that's what happened mind, I think someone panicked and are now finding out how badly they screwed up, but having the speech go from limited to a single class of graduating students to being covered on national tv has you almost wanting to congratulate them on screwing up in such epic fashion.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:27pm

      Re: Some might have heard, now LOTS have

      Almost like some famous person who doesn't want pictures of her beach house shown...

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re: Some might have heard, now LOTS have

        If only there was a name for that phenomenon, one they might have heard of beforehand, such that they might have been able to foresee how letting her talk was very much the better option...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:31pm

    Kids in high school have so much valuable life experience. They understand real life better than anyone. They are certainly never parroting other people, like in this instance, and so we should make every effort to listen to their opinions.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Who exactly are you parroting?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      Oh, come on, you have Trump in the White House and you are disdaining what a teenager has to say?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      Agreed. They constantly remind us of what idiots WE were back in High School.

      Anyone miss angst? :)

      Valedictorian. And too stupid to realize she's made herself a leper to the job market - Ability to follow simple instructions: ZERO"

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      • icon
        cattress (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 1:13am

        Re: Re:

        Inability to follow "Simple instructions"? Or inability to tolerate any further oppression by the state? Or unwilling to compromise her personal integrity to protect corrupt authoritarians?
        Sure, there are a bunch of shitty companies that don't want troublemaker capable of independent thought as an employee. But there are plenty of careers in which her strength and bravery bring exponential value to her intelligence. Like journalism and civil rights law.
        As much as I hate to make the reference to nazis, it sounds like you think those guys were just following orders...

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 14 Jun 2018 @ 5:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Good one, cattress.

          In my personal experience, being a problem-solver who plays by my own rules when it suits me has been more of a boon than a bane. Why? Because my "Question All The Things!" attitude helps me to resolve purchase invoice queries and issues with service delivery. Why? Because blind obedience to rules and processes often gets us into those situations in the first place. Being an inquisitive smartalec is what makes me good at my job.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re:

        Valedictorian. And too stupid to realize she's made herself a leper to the job market

        Valedictorians generally go to college, not straight into the job market.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      Yes, kids in high school live in a bubble in which they have absolutely zero experiences at all, especially not any experiences with sexual assault.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "especially not any experiences with sexual assault."

        Do you have any citations for that? What makes you think that adolescents who are in their prime of hormonal development, regardless of experience (or maybe because of their lack of experience) don't commit sexual assault? Or, have sexual assault committed upon them by similar aged or by older people?

        Your lack of observation, along with your lack of sensitivity, combined with your lack of appropriateness makes one think that you might have actual knowledge of high school sexual assault. IMHO. Why do you deny the possibility so strongly?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 5:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Your lack of observation"

          You might want to observe some sarcasm.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 6:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That did not seem sarcastic, in fact it seemed antagonistic, but if it was sarcasm, my apologies.

            You might consider your tone in the future, or use '/s' to indicate sarcasm where it might be confused.

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        • identicon
          Bruce C., 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: assault

          Glad to see that someone noticed the core issue here, and the whole reason she got censored was because she felt the administration had mishandled cases of sexual assault on campus. The administration of the school has worse problems than a tendency to censorship. A tendency to cover up in general.

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  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:26pm

    Not the Principal's 1st struggle with student speech

    It seems Principal David Stirrat has long struggled with what is & isn't harmful speech.

    On February 1 2013, PHS students attending the home basketball game began chanting "USA! USA!." Another student held up a sign that read "Dirty Sanchez," aimed at Angel Sanchez, a Latino basketball player from Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa.

    Petaluma High School Principal David Stirrat was at the game, but did not stop the chanting, something he now says he regrets.

    "It's subjective what patriotism is…it takes a bit of time to make that mental leap," he wrote in an email to PHS parents, quoted in the paper. "Personally I regret not stopping the chanting. In my retrospection, I should have guided the students that evening."

    ref: https://patch.com/california/petaluma/is-petaluma-an-accepting-and-open-minded-community

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 6:40pm

    equal rights under the law

    Why should only one graduating student be allowed to give a (unauthorized) speeech?

    In fact, everyone getting their diploma that day has a right to stop on stage and give their own (unauthorized) speech, and if the school tries to infringe on that right in any way (including pulling the plug at 4 AM when there are still plenty more speeches to go) then it's a clear First Amendment violation.

    I'm glad that Mike Masnick agrees wholeheartedly with this important free speech principle!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:24pm

      Re: equal rights under the law

      The fact that you think this is a good argument should embarrass you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:49pm

        Re: Re: equal rights under the law

        The fact that you believe in privilege rather than equality should embarrass you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 10:03pm

        Re: Re: equal rights under the law

        The 1st Amendment applies to everyone, not just some arbitrary privileged class. Everyone.

        When the 1st Amendment gives one student the right to make an unauthorized speech, it gives every student the right to make an unauthorized speech.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:59am

      Re: equal rights under the law

      Why should only one graduating student be allowed to give a (unauthorized) speeech?

      Do you think this is a good point? It is not.

      I'll leave aside that more than one student gave a speech. The point is not whether or not a student could give a speech -- but whether or not the decision to silence the speech was due to the content of the speech.

      The core principle is whether or not there was content-based discrimination. Which there was. Which is why it's a First Amendment issue.

      That is not the same as saying everyone needs to be able to speak. But if the school says that valedictorians get to give a speech, then they get to choose the content of that speech.

      In fact, everyone getting their diploma that day has a right to stop on stage and give their own (unauthorized) speech, and if the school tries to infringe on that right in any way (including pulling the plug at 4 AM when there are still plenty more speeches to go) then it's a clear First Amendment violation.

      Nah.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:59am

        Re: Re: equal rights under the law

        "The point is not whether or not a student could give a speech -- but whether or not the decision to silence the speech was due to the content of the speech."

        Agreed. Content. "Speech" also takes many forms (which may not have been clearly expressed in the earlier comment).

        Consider this example:

        https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/university-florida-employee-manhandles-black-graduates -commencement-n872116

        The US Supreme Court has long established that "speech" can be non-verbal acts of expression (see Texas v. Johnson). If that California high school had done what the University of Florida famously did, pushing African-American students off stage who expressed their African-Americaness by dancing, that could be considered an infringement of speech. The act of walking on stage, shaking the presenter's hand, taking the diploma, and walking away could be considered an act of speech, just as boycotting the event or organizing such boycott would fall under "speech" as well. When the official presenters on stage intervene to push students off the stage because they deviate from the approved script, they are censoring the content of that "speech" that every student makes when they walk onstage to receive their diploma.

        That's content-based discrimination.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 12 Jun 2018 @ 9:25pm

    Were there a lot of sexual assaults at the school that needed to be exposed?

    If not, then what is she doing wasting everyone's time?

    A graduation ceremony is not all about the valedictorian and whatever they want. Its about all the students graduating. Leave them alone and let them enjoy the moment.

    Frankly, its kind of a dick move on the kid's part.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:05am

      Re:

      The speech is a speech about these particular students graduating, overcoming difficulties that they have encountered on their way.

      One of their shared experiences had been the perceived silencing of victims. She spends a whole sentence on this. Many in the audience appreciate it.

      8.24 "even [something] campus on which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims, we didn't let that drag us down"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 1:01am

      Re:

      Were there a lot of sexual assaults at the school that needed to be exposed?

      Irrelevant.

      If not, then what is she doing wasting everyone's time?

      It seems clear you did not watch the speech. It was well within the context of what she was talking about. She was discussing a long list of adversity faced by the students, and included a single line concerning sexual assault. She was not wasting everyone's time with a single line. The students chanted for her to be able to continue her speech.

      A graduation ceremony is not all about the valedictorian and whatever they want. Its about all the students graduating. Leave them alone and let them enjoy the moment.

      They wanted her to speak. She was speaking about issues that matter to them.

      Frankly, its kind of a dick move on the kid's part.

      You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 2:52am

        Re: Re:

        "What students want" is something that has become taboo in the postmodern age. It sounds like reality needs to be catered to the newer generation, in turn often suggesting that existing systems and status quo need to be changed.

        Students know that education doesn't prepare them for the workforce. Work requires traits and disciplines that employers know students won't be taught, but demand them anyway. Think of all the jobs that a degree would qualify for, but also happen to require several years of experience on the side. Education knows this, but since they're unable to keep up with the demands of employment, and employers aren't keen on training the people they want, it's far easier to blame the kids for being "overentitled", "pampered" and "mollycoddled" for not delivering the results they didn't know were asked of them.

        Acceding to what the student wants is considered weak and going soft. The previous generation is especially fond of trumpeting their horn and insisting that if anything, students need to face more adversity, lest the sky fall down, or Farmer Jones will come back.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Students know that education doesn't prepare them for the workforce."

          It shouldn't be focused just on that. I'd say school doesn't prepare students to be citizens. There's very little, if any, attention to skills an adult absolutely needs to function. Learning about politics (and I'm not talking about partisan bickering), how the government works, taxes and how to fill yours, basic 'survival' skills like sewing and cooking, international knowledge (as in history, geopolitics), finance etc etc.

          Some will come with the old and tired "that's what the parents are for" and I agree. They can also teach a ton of stuff the school does. And yet we decided as a society that we wanted schools to do it as well. I'm not talking about replacing parental education (even though it would be healthy for quite a few kids in the US and elsewhere) but rather having the school provide further support.

          Don't get me wrong, I agree with you but I think we could go further.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            For sure. The issue is that education and work seem to be obsessed with focusing on the competitive aspect. "Perform or die" is the mantra. You're really only considered a functioning human being if you meet certain standards and numbers, and even after you do, all that means is that you're treated a little less horribly, because all you've done is qualify yourself to compete under even harsher rubrics.

            Saying that parents should be responsible for worldly education is also pretty ridiculous, I'd say, because no single or pair of parents is going to be capable of knowing and answering everything, so you'll find me in agreement with that.

            The problem is that education and work often seem to be in opposition these days. Employers are never satisfied with the graduates that education churns out. Maybe the kids lack specialization-based skills; if they don't, they probably lack social graces or soft interpersonal communication skills, and even if they're considered good enough, why the fuck would I hire an expensive university graduate when I can file him under unpaid intern, wring him dry, then fuck up his LinkedIn reputation when he inevitably gets pissed off and leaves after I continuously withhold his career progression? Better yet, I could always hire some schmuck from a foreign country who's more subservient, doesn't complain about my decisions, and costs me far less.

            Education doesn't know how to compete with that, other than increasing standards in an attempt to sift out more chaff from the wheat. The problem here is that the only way to do that is to consider a greater percentage of the students as useless chaff and screaming at them about how they're not good enough.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The goal of public education is not simply providing corporations with new minions every spring, although some think such accommodations should be made and to hell with society.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      Clearly this student should have made the speech about how misogyny is the only way to go.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      If not, then what is she doing wasting everyone's time?

      Giving a graduation speech.

      A graduation ceremony is not all about the valedictorian and whatever they want. Its about all the students graduating. Leave them alone and let them enjoy the moment.

      If the school doesn't want the valedictorian to speak at graduation, then it's well within the school's rights not to have the valedictorian speak at graduation.

      What's not within the school's rights is to say that some years the valedictorian gets to give a speech and some years the valedictorian doesn't, and that decision will be made based on the content of the speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:40am

    "“If the school is providing the forum, then the school has the ability to have some control over the message,” Rose said. "

    If she decides to sue, which honestly she should IMHO, here is the only evidence needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 13 Jun 2018 @ 7:11am

    Take it to the web

    Let it go viral, let the karma begin.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 13 Jun 2018 @ 4:31pm

    Talk about Spineless (the Principal that is)

    The sexual assault "speech" was about 1 paragraph out of the entire speech, making it almost a passing remark.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 5:56pm

    "approved speech"

    Sigh!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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