A high school valedictorian in Dallas is claiming her principal cut the microphone during her graduation speech on Saturday, after she addressed the loss of “victims of injustice,” Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.
In the now viral video posted on Twitter, Rooha Haghar, is seen tapping her microphone and waiting for sound to return in what the school called a technical difficulty. But, as classmates cheered her on, Haghar says she watched Emmett J. Conrad High School principal Temesghen Asmerom signal staff turn off the mic.
“My valedictorian speech was cut short because I said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality,” Haghar captioned the video. “Our principal signaled for my mic to be turned off as soon as I said ‘Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice’ and played it off as a technical difficulty. Pathetic.”
In addition to mentioning Martin and Rice, Haghar tweeted that she intended to talk about “kids across the globe affected by war, famine, persecution and child labor” and remind her classmates that they have “an obligation to your community, and to the world at large.”
According to an official statement given to CNN, the Dallas Independent School District is currently investigating the incident.
“In Dallas ISD, we educate leaders of tomorrow and encourage student voices, and we are looking into this matter,” the district said.
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I want you to watch Rooha Haghar, the brilliant and brave valedictorian of Emmett J. Conrad High School simply say the names of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, two young students that have been unjustly killed as she has grown up, and then have her microphone cut off. The principal later blamed it on technical difficulties, but here he is, clearly giving a signal to the sound man to cut her off. In doing so, he made Rooha into a hero, he made Trayvon and Tamir’s names be said everywhere, and made himself look like a short-sighted coward. We will say these names. Our young leaders will say these names. And we won’t be stopped. Proud of you Rooha!
Apparently, Asmerom reviewed the speech prior to the ceremony and edited out the names of Martin and Rice because there was “no point” of mentioning police brutality until she was “in a position of power.”
Haghar was disappointed in the school’s decision and decided to go off script during graduation
“I never expected them to not allow me to finish, because at the end of the day, schools want to raise socially conscious students, students who are able to think for themselves. That’s what I was doing,” she said.
Haghar has received an outpour of support online for her actions, while the school has received backlash.
Principal Asmeron has yet to comment.