EXETER, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- There are new developments today in a controversy surrounding what some are calling “the graduation speech heard around the world.”
Eyewitness News first told you a week ago about the speech by Wyoming Area High School graduate Peter Butera.
The principal shut off Butera’s mic after he went “off script” and began criticizing the district. Some say Butera’s free speech rights were violated.
The event was reported by news outlets around the nation and the world, including The Washington Post, People Magazine, and European television networks.
Superintendent of the school district, Janet Serino, wanted to meet with Butera to discuss what happened that night, and today she did.
It was a confident Butera who walked into the Wyoming Area Secondary Center Monday morning to talk about this part of his speech:
“The last of a real student government combined with an authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators, and board have will hopefully change.”
His microphone was cut off because he went off an approved script. Long standing district policy requires that graduation speeches are approved by school administrators before they are delivered.
Butera said he was fully aware of the policy, but felt he had something that needed to be said. Today, he and the superintendent met behind closed doors for about an hour to move the district forward.
“We had a dialog of things that were a concern to him,” says Serino.
In short, Butera’s off-script plan worked.
“The objective wasn’t really to bring attention to the school district,” says Butera. “It was to better the school district for the future.”
Butera says he would do it all again.
“I do understand people who have an issue with how I did it,” says Butera. “But overall, the result of it, I think, will ultimately be positive, and I’m glad about that.”
Serino also said that the district’s policy requiring script approval of all speeches before they are delivered remains in effect.
She says she would not judge the actions of the principal cutting off Butera’s microphone, only to say hindsight is 20-20, and he was reacting to what was happening at the moment.