Principal bars Black valedictorian from giving graduation speech

valedictorian Jaisaan Lovett
Jaisaan Lovett

Jaisaan Lovett worked hard in high school and rose up to the ranks of valedictorian. But when it was time for him to share his inspirational graduation speech at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men as the first black valedictorian last month, Lovett said his principal let a grudge against him get in the way and refused to let him speak his truth.

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The principal Joseph Munno, reportedly tried to silence Lovett since they had a strained relationship over the years, but it didn’t work.

The NY Daily News reports that Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren invited Lovett,who had served as her intern, to City Hall to give his speech in an open forum to air on the city’s official YouTube channel.

And Lovett didn’t hold back.

“To Mr. Munno, my principal, there’s a whole lot of things I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time. … I’m here as the UPrep 2018 valedictorian to tell you that you couldn’t break me. I’m still here, and I’m still here strong.”

Lovett admitted the principal had it out for him.

“And after all these years, all this anger I’ve had toward you and UPrep as a whole, I realized I had to let that go in order to better myself. And I forgive you for everything I held against you.”

Lovett said his principal held a grudge simply because the star student stood up for students’ rights over the years.

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“There’s a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it,” Lovett told “(Munno) is a guy that doesn’t like to be told ‘no.,”

When he asked his principal for permission to deliver the speech, Lovett said:

“He didn’t want to see the speech or what it said, nothing,” Lovett said. “He just said no.”

However, Lovett will continue to stand strong when he attends Clark Atlanta University on full scholarship this fall.