Home / News / Dallas High School Valedictorian Silenced During Speech After Mentioning The Deaths Of Trayvon Martin And Tamir Rice

Dallas High School Valedictorian Silenced During Speech After Mentioning The Deaths Of Trayvon Martin And Tamir Rice

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.

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.

About Retonjah Burdette

Retonjah Burdette is a publicist and published content curator from Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University in 2017, Burdette then went on to get field experience with one of the top entertainment PR firms in Atlanta. Since the start of her career, Burdette has worked with a number of actors, authors, entrepreneurs and independent artists. She has secured placements on media outlets such as TV One’s Sister Circle, Good Day Atlanta on FOX, V-103, CBS 46, Kontrol Magazine, KISS 104.1 and Rolling Out to name a few. In addition to her growth in PR, she is currently a writer for Baller Alert, a top platform for news and entertainment. In hopes of bringing the visions of others to life, she launched Girl Avant-Garde in 2019, a creative agency specializing in innovative content, branding and PR in entertainment. Her overall goal is to have autonomy over her creative thought process and to teach branding to new entrepreneurs and others pursuing a career in the public eye.

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