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Dallas school speech interrupted when shooting victims named

June 6, 2019

DALLAS (AP) — School officials in Dallas say they’re investigating why a high school valedictorian had her graduation speech interrupted after she said the names of shooting victims Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.

Conrad High School valedictorian Rooha Haghar told KXAS-TV that her school principal ordered her mic to be shut off during her speech Saturday. Haghar said she was previously told that her speech shouldn’t be political.

Officers in Cleveland fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir in 2014. A neighborhood watch volunteer shot 17-year-old Martin in 2012. Both were black.

Haghar says she mentioned them because they were of similar age and their deaths are “a reality that black families have to deal with.” She posted video of the speech on Twitter. Principal Temesghen Asmerom can be seen sitting on the stage and giving a thumbs-up as the names were read, apparently indicating to cut the mic.

Asmerom did not return a message Thursday seeking comment. Attempts to reach Haghar were unsuccessful.

Haghar wrote on Twitter that she spoke with Asmerom about her speech prior to graduation and he encouraged her to remove the names because including them “would be sending the wrong message to the graduating students.”

She said his “reasoning failed to convince me.”

The Dallas Independent School District issued a statement saying it’s reviewing the events.

“In Dallas ISD, we educate leaders of tomorrow and encourage student voices, and we are looking into this matter,” the statement read.

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