California valedictorian burns school in ‘scorched earth’ speech | TribLIVE.com
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California valedictorian burns school in ‘scorched earth’ speech

Shirley McMarlin
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Tell us how you really feel, Nataly.

At California’s San Ysidro High School, valedictorian Nataly Buhr started her graduation speech the way those speeches usually go. She thanked friends, family and teachers at the San Diego school who helped her along her way.

Then the speech veered into what the New York Post termed “scorched earth” territory. In Buhr’s view, the “intelligent” educators and administrators who were really invested in their students were few and far between.

What high school kid hasn’t thought that everyone and everything associated with school is stupid? But, still…

Buhr’s first target was her counselor.

“Only in these past few weeks, with the award ceremonies and graduation coming up, did you begin making your appearance,” she said. “And might I note, you expressed to me your joy in knowing that one of your students was valedictorian when you had absolutely no role in my achievements.”

Office staff were called out for their “negligence to inform me of several scholarships until the day before they were due, potentially caused me to miss out of thousands of dollars.”

Buhr saved the best for the last. The audience gasped as she called out “the teacher who was regularly intoxicated during class this year.”

“Thank you for using yourself as an example to teach students about the dangers of alcoholism,” she said. “Being escorted by police out of school left a lasting impression. I hope that future students and staff learn from these examples.”

At least she didn’t name names.

Not surprisingly, Manuel Rubio, a spokesperson for the Sweetwater Union High School District, told the San Diego Union-Tribune the speech was “inappropriate and out of line.”

In an email to the paper, Rubio said the school wants to hear the concerns of students and their families, but it should be done the right way: “Ultimately this takes away from what should have been a day of celebration for the school and their community.”

Heroic or misguided? The Twitterverse has opinions, from “you go, girl”:

To “child, you still have a lot to learn”:

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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