Texas high school valedictorian says principal shut off mic due to ‘political’ speech

Inspired to remember African Americans who have died at the hands of police, a Texas high school valedictorian decided to say their names, only to be censored by her principal


One Texas high school valedictorian said her school principal muted her graduation speech because she was raising attention to the scourge of police brutality.

The irony is Rooha Haghar’s speech has now gone viral.

Haghar, valedictorian at Emmett J. Conrad High School in Dallas, says her school cut off her mic when she began talking about social injustice and the killings of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown. Martin, Rice and Brown’s death sparked widespread protests across the country.

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“It made me feel sick, honestly, because I was close to their age and knowing this is a reality that black families have to deal with,” Haghar said to Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS.

But before her speech, Haghar said her school principal deleted the names, citing how he didn’t want her to turn the speech into a political statement.

But she persisted, and that’s when her mic went blank.

“We forget names and move on within a few weeks,” she told the station about the lingering reality of the killings. “I never expected to be silenced. The consequences I was expecting to face was them holding my diploma or having a conversation with my principal. 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.”

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Still, Haghar said she has no regrets. Although she was momentarily embarrassed, Haghar maintains that she holds no hard feelings against her principal or the school.

Instead, the Iran native, whose family immigrated to the United States when she was 12, said she achieved her goal — to make her graduation speech impactful and honest.

But because she was not able to give her full speech, she posted what she intended to say on Twitter.

Haghar said next up she plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and will continue fighting for social justice causes.