California valedictorian burns school in ‘scorched earth’ speech
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”:
I admire future leaders like Nataly Buhr who have the candor & guts to call a spade a spade – it's refreshing.https://t.co/D5yfYCniS7
— Daniel (@D68141715) June 13, 2019
Speaking truth to power is always uncomfortable. Similar experiences like Nataly Buhr’s go on all over America. It's a brave new world folks, where achievement is discouraged and mediocrity is rewarded. There is hope if this is Generation Z. Gen Z/X 👍. Millennials a lost cause!
— Ray Hessel 🇺🇸 (@ray_hessel) June 13, 2019
To “child, you still have a lot to learn”:
Know her name: Nataly Buhr. If this is what she’s capable of now. Think of what irresponsible behavior she’ll conduct in college and in the workforce
— a.m.c🔛SummerBreak2019 (@mikeycruz) June 13, 2019
Can someone please teach this child that alcoholism is a disease and I'm sure the teacher didn't choose to have an addiction simply to insult her? I will not praise this little girl for humiliating an adult with a sickness. #NatalyBuhr
— Precious Garbanzo (@FrauleinFairy) June 14, 2019
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .