A Dallas high school valedictorian said the microphone was cut off during her commencement speech at graduation as she listed the names of black teens who were victims of police brutality.
In an interview with local news outlet NBC 5 KXAS, Rooha Hagher said her principal at Emmett J. Conrad High School deleted the names of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown from her speech when reviewing it because he didn’t want the speech to be political.
Hagher said social and racial justice and the issue of excessive police use of force are important to her so she decided to include the names anyway.
"We forget names and move on in three weeks," Hagher said. Her speech was intended to be an effort to reverse that trend.
"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," Hagher told the news outlet. "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."
In a post to her Twitter account with a video of the speech, she said the school tried to play off her mic being cut “as a technical difficulty.”
The video shows a man standing behind Hagher giving a signal as the mic cuts out.
my valedictorian speech was cut short because i said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality. 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. pic.twitter.com/9upW3dZ7Mg— روحا (@ItsRoohaHaghar) June 3, 2019
Hagher said she does not regret her decision to include the names in her speech despite her principal's objection.
"I don't have any regrets," Hagher said. "And if it took me not being able to finish my speech, then so be it."
Hagher did not face any consequences for her speech and the school said in a statement to KXAS that it was further looking into the incident.