Graduation speech cut off in NJ

June 20, 2008 12:28:03 PM PDT
A student intending to make a speech criticizing school administrators at her high school graduation was cut off in mid-sentence and told to leave the ceremony.Jennifer Chau, the salutatorian at Mainland Regional High School, started to criticize school administration Thursday night for allegedly playing favorites among students. She scrapped a text that was approved in advance by the school.

"I know this is a community that values education," she said. "That is why you need to know what is really going on behind the walls of Mainland's administrat-"

At that point, Chau's microphone was cut off and school principal Robert Blake told her she would have to leave.

Chau left to chants of "Let her speak!" and "Finish!"

The Georgetown University-bound senior had a dispute with the school over not receiving credit for an honors class she took in her freshman year. She claims that was one reason she finished second in her graduating class, behind a student whose mother is a member of the board of education.

Blake defended his decision to end Chau's speech.

"The student was regressing beyond what we worked with her on, and that's the end of it," he said. "I've met with her on a number of occasions, and I'd be glad to talk with her about her (complaints). This is certainly not the place. In this venue, we are responsible for what is said out here. This is not somebody's front yard."