Petaluma High School valedictorian Lulabel Seitz never had a chance to drop the mic at her graduation address. School officials silenced the sound system after she veered off a preapproved speech.
Seitz said later that she was “unfairly cut off” for trying to address the silencing of victims of sexual assault, something she said she experienced on the campus.
Seitz said she filed a police report after she was sexually assaulted on campus last fall, but claimed the school did not do enough to protect her after the alleged attack.
Seitz said she was “appalled” that the school had pulled the plug on her address, but school leaders said all speakers were warned ahead of time that they would be muted if they went off script.
Principal David Stirrat said the school had been tipped off in advance that Seitz might deviate from her approved remarks.
In a statement, the school district’s assistant superintendent said, “Due to student privacy issues, we cannot and should not respond with specific information. 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.”
The Petaluma Police Department did not respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
While she received support at graduation, some of her fellow students said the ceremony wasn’t the appropriate venue to raise the issue.
“We’re all celebrating us leaving, you know? And she was kind of taking it off into what happened to her.”
Seitz eventually posted video on YouTube of her interrupted speech and added an uncensored version of the full speech she tried to deliver. In the expanded version, she said students hadn’t let it drag them down when some on campus defended perpetrators of sexual violence and silenced their victims.