Valedictorian’s Mic Muted after She Honors Victims of US Police Brutality (+Video)
- June, 08, 2019 - 16:47
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Conrad High School Valedictorian Rooha Haghar’s graduation speech was cut off after she honored Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, two black teenagers who were violently killed by US police.
A high school valedictorian in Dallas, Texas, says her mic was apparently cut off after she mentioned the injustice surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice during her commencement speech last weekend, the HuffPost reported.
Rooha Haghar shared a video clip of her delivering her recent valedictorian address on Twitter on Monday. She can be heard saying,”...to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and all the other children who became victims of injustice–”
According to the video, the Emmett J. Conrad High School student then abruptly stopped speaking before seemingly tapping the mic. She then returned to her seat onstage as the school’s principal, Temesghen Asmerom, walked to the podium.
Asmerom can be seen in the video giving a thumbs up during Haghar’s speech after she paid homage to Rice and Martin, two young black boys who were killed before either of them could graduate high school.
George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Martin, was found not guilty in the death of the 17-year-old in 2013. Former Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, who fatally shot 12-year-old Rice in 2014, was not indicted by a grand jury for the killing.
“I was like, ‘Wow, they really did this. They really went there,’” Haghar said about the mic cutting off during her commencement speech in an interview with the Washington Post.
The Dallas Independent School District, which includes Conrad High, did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
The district released the following statement to CNN: “In Dallas ISD, we educate leaders of tomorrow and encourage student voices, and we are looking into this matter.”
Haghar provided more background information on the incident in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday. The recent graduate claimed the school’s principal had advised her to remove the names of Martin and Rice in her speech prior to graduation.
“He told me those lines did not fall within the DSID (Dallas School Independent District) valedictorian speech guideline, which neither I nor any other student have access to,” she wrote.
She said the principal apparently told her to say “all the children” in her speech – instead of naming Martin and Rice.
“When I asked why, he said I would be sending the wrong message to the graduating students, that message being ‘you will get shot if you are Black in America’ (according to him)” she charged.
Haghar later explained that she made a choice on the day of her graduation to recognize Martin and Rice as she initially intended, instead of reading her edited speech.
“I knew none of the consequences I could possibly face came even slightly close to what families of the victims have to live with on a daily basis,” she wrote.
Haghar, told the Post that she did not believe her school’s principal’s intentions were “rooted in hate.”
She told CNN that she believes this incident could be a “learning opportunity” for the school.