HS’ First Black Valedictorian Delivers Speech at City Hall After Principal Shuts Him Down

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The principal for the University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men in Rochester, N.Y refused to allow Jaisaan Lovett, the school’s first Black valedictorian, to deliver his graduation speech in front of his classmates.

Lovett cited a poor relationship throughout the years with the principal, Joseph Munno, and claimed that was the reason he was denied a chance to speak, as per Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. He told the paper he clashed with Munno on several occasions, including one instance in which he orchestrated a week-long strike in protest of lab safety equipment.

“There’s a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it,” Lovett told the paper. “[Munno] is a guy that doesn’t like to be told ‘no.’”

Lovett is an intern at the Rochester Mayor’s Office, Lovely Warren, and she invited him to deliver his speech at City Hall.

The graduate gave his principal a special shoutout in his speech.”To Mr. Munno, my principal, there’s a whole lot of things I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time. … I’m here as the UPrep 2018 valedictorian to tell you that you couldn’t break me. I’m still here, and I’m still here strong,”

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