Last month, Jaisaan Lovett graduated from Rochester’s University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men as the school’s first black valedictorian. However, he was unable to give his speech at graduation because his principal wouldn’t allow him to.
According to CBS News, Lovett acknowledged his past run-ins with the principal over student protests but says he was never asked to give a graduation speech like previous valedictorians.
Lovett, who will be attending Clark Atlanta in the fall, said, “He didn’t want to see the speech or what it said, nothing. He just said no.” His principal Joseph Munno declined to comment.
Lovett serves as an intern in the office of Mayor Lovely Warren, so she presented him with the opportunity to deliver his speech at City Hall. She later shared his speech with viewers on both her YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Warren said, “Unfortunately, Jaisaan’s school did not allow him to give his valedictorian speech. For some reason, his school – in a country where freedom of speech is a constitution right, and the city of Frederick Douglass – turned his moment of triumph into a time of sorrow and pain. Jaisaan will never graduate from high school again. He will never get that moment back. This is not the time to punish a child because you may not like what he has to say.”
University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men board of trustees responded to the incident in a Facebook post and said, “The Board will be reviewing the circumstances regarding what happened and looking into the related guidelines and school policies.”
Check out Jaisaan’s speech below: