administrators pulls the plug on graduation speech

Last week during graduation ceremonies at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, NJ, graduating senior Jennifer Chau decided she'd shake things up a bit and stray from the pre-approved text of her salutatorian speech, choosing to critique the administration of her soon-to-be alma mater. She didn't get very far: Mainland principal cuts off salutatorian's graduation speech.

Chau started, "I know this is a community that values education. That is why you need to know what is really going on behind the walls of Mainland's administrat--" Her microphone was cut and she was escorted from the field... to chants of "Let her speak," "Finish" and "Jen Chau" from both students and families.

Chau was trying to draw attention to problems within her school's administration and its policies, which she claims values "connections" over equal opportunity for all students:
There should be an equal opportunity for all students," Chau said later, "not just people who know insiders on the Board of Education."

That charge seemed to be a personal one for her. Chau claimed that there was "some controversy" over whether her not receiving honors credit for an honors course she took freshman year - told, she said, that to do so "wasn't fair to everyone else" - was one of the reasons she dropped to No. 2 in the class rankings behind valedictorian Rebecca Ann Ojserkis, whose mother Janice sits on the Board of Education.

"I don't know," she said. "(But) it's not really about No. 1 or No. 2. It's about what the administration is doing to our school. Or not doing. ... I just hope that that people really investigate and look into this school more closely."
Chau also said that her request to start an Asian club wasn't granted for years, while similar requests from students with said "connections" were immediately granted, including one from—suprise, suprise—a student who just happened to be Janice Ojserkis' nephew. Props to this girl for seizing the moment and having to guts to at least attempt to tell people what's up. People might think she's just a troublemaker. I say we need more girls like this.

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