Valedictorian’s Speech Cut Off by Administrators, Grabbing National Headlines

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EXETER — One local graduate’s valedictorian speech is grabbing some national attention.

Peter Butera donned his green and gold for one final time last Friday, preparing to address his class and leave them with his final thoughts. As their Valedictorian, Butera prepared a speech he hoped would garner himself attention, but he couldn’t have dreamt exactly how much it would get him, exactly.

“However, at our school, the title of class president could more accurately be class party planner, and student council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week. Despite some of the outstanding people in our school, the lack of a real student government combined with the authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators and board members have prevents students from truly developing as leaders. Hopefully, this will change.”

Butera appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC late Tuesday night where he was given the chance to finish his speech.

Butera’s speech calling out staff and administration at Wyoming Area High School and Wyoming Area School District in Exeter has raised eyebrows within the community on both sides. Butera had his microphone cut mid-speech, due to making unauthorized changes and deviating from his previously submitted and approved speech.

Butera’s revised speech targets the “authoritative nature that a few administrators and the school board members have,” claiming that it “prevents students from developing as true leaders.”


  • Ray Sheridan

    I heard this guy speak on the sue Henry show. (wilk 103.1) When pressed on specifics, He couldn’t come up with anything that he wanted changed. He mentioned the dress code, but when asked what do you want changed about it, He had no specifics. So now I think he is just a whiney kid needing attention. He got his five minutes of fame and accomplished nothing.

  • Lois

    I love that the usual alt-right crowd is eating each other alive, having no idea where to stand on this issue.

    • J (@ds18301)

      So true — but most of the alt-right really has no stance (or knowledge) of most issues. If they do have a stance (like guns of course), there is never any nuance or logic — just the usual catch-phrases peppered with the infantile insults.

      • Common_Sense

        You got to be kidding. A majority of the schools/colleges today are ruled by liberal left wing Democrats ( Administration , Teachers and school boards ) who would cut off any kind of speech which disagrees with them or doesn’t fit in their agenda. Please get off the drugs…..

  • Lusa Walsh

    Thank you Jummy for letting the student complete his speech
    There was absolutely nothing wrong with it
    Unfortunately this. Is a problem with many schools . This schools especially the one my son just graduated from does not follow the rules and laws that that the Department of Educatiin defines.
    Hopefully this will open up more eyes

  • TidalWavez

    With colleges around the nation basically getting away with total censorship and thought policing via not allowing certain individuals to even speak on campus, there’s a precedent set. It’s no wonder school staff on a smaller scale thinks this is acceptable when they see the trash that happens at places like UC Berkeley.

  • Robert

    So the school’s valedictorian, and student body president was shut down by the shadow government. The one’s that reserve constitutional rhetoric for themselves but will not extend it to their subjects. Cancel his diploma, sentence him to 8 years hard labor and send this schools administration to North Korea! Kim will love this group.
    For those who did hear the speech given on a national platform, it was not harmful. I thought it did have a solid message. They should have let him give his speech.

  • LLoyd Schmucatelli

    Good job kid! Stay a pioneer!

    I love seeing the traditional education system FN CRUMBLING before our eyes! It is no longer relevant!

  • WarningFakeNews

    There’s a key difference here, the school and those in charge are here to serve the student body. He IS their customer. You may say, “Well no, the customer is his parents, who pay the taxes” and that has some validity.

    If you look at McDonald’s however, they have it right, they cater to the kids in order to get the parents through the door. This student isn’t demanding that the school give the student body free ice cream and sofas to relax and watch TV and play video games on- he is asking for students to have real participation in the important decisions regarding education.

    Don’t worry, student vouchers will help solve the “on deaf ears” attitude of the administrators for it will give families the thing that government workers fear the most- the ability to choose someone else to meet their educational needs.

  • WarningFakeNews

    β€œThe opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice… it is conformity.” ― Earl Nightingale

  • Ya Gotta Grow Up

    Uhhhh….Folks. Rules are rules, and this student apparently understood them. His speech had to be approved by the administration before he was permitted to give it. Like it or not, that’s the rules and he understood that. What he ended up reading was NOT what he submitted for approval. He violated the rules, they cut him off. That rule hasn’t made such an uproar prior to this and it’s a common rule among ALL school districts. There are dress codes, conduct codes, and rules about speeches made by valedictorian. What if he used that podium to make a sexist laced comedic stance? A sexist rant that doesn’t infringe on any of the protected classes? How many people would be lining up to congratulate him then? Isn’t THAT free speech as well? Rules are rules and he broke it – They cut him off. Calm down, grow up. Big deal.

    • Hentry Rowengartner

      I am sure they would have let him way what he said. He took it upon himself to make a change where others do not have a voice. That is what happened here. Sometimes rules need to be broken in order to bring attention to the issues at hand. Get with the 21st century NEPA school districts! You have a future leader. Let him lead.

      Great job kid!

  • Republican Joe

    This kid nailed it! I’d be proud of you if you were my kid too. I’m guessing the negative comments here are from some of the staff who knew he was talking about them. :)

  • Joe Bloomsburg

    I think the kid had a lot to learn, but he’s not the only one. It is true that in the context of high school, it is important to protect kids from things like vulgarity and nobody at that age is never totally immune of being set straight by adults.

    That said, we have to try out new arrangements in our schools that give the kids more room and space. The old authoritarian Bismarckian model fails our modern economy where we all need to take ownership of our affairs — and responsibility and improvement upon our failures.

    Otherwise, you just end up bitter and posting angry comments about a kid who had a lot to learn, but seems to be on the road to growth.

    (That and angry comments about the silly people in national politics, based on what Rush, Savage, Rachel, Fox, and MSNBC want you to be angry at for their ratings/$$!)

  • Shannon

    A lot of employers highly value having employees who can think critically and innovate — something we all know most school districts aggressively discourage, which was exactly this kid’s point. He’s far more likely to have a successful career than someone who can do nothing but follow orders someone else had to think up for them.

    He and his entire class are done with the school and about to head out in the world, and the school still can’t tolerate allowing him to speak honestly about some problems they may have. It’s sad and just an example of how much of a tyrannical power complex so many in school administrations have.

  • MMMM

    Why must we all have to conform to others is beyond me. What happened to freedom of speech!? Just because the admin. didn’t like being called out. I guess the truth hurts! This kid has a mind of his own and will go far.

  • Green

    You people realize you have to earn the title of Valedictorian, right? This kid isn’t some lazy underachiever who’s just complaining for the sake of it. Most school districts in this state and their boards are disgraceful. You should be with him demanding change, not falling in line like good little ducklings who’d rather not make waves but will gladly complain to your friends and family when our schools don’t get any better anyway.

  • Keith Thompson

    Right on cue the Prinicipal offered an example of exactly what his speech was about. Fortunately, the kid is way ahead of you, Mr. Principal.

  • raider

    What a whiny idiot. He’s set to be a total worthless employee who whines and seeks grievances over trivial stuff.

  • frank rizzo

    You’re in high school. You’re not entitled to an opinion, they make the rules, not you. #snowflakes

    • Keith Thompson

      Sure, Frank. Just stand in line with everybody else. Don’t make waves or suggest ways to improve. If the Founding Fathers had your attitude, we’d still be a colony. And the fact you don’t see what he’s speaking about as important shows you’re just another drone, not a leader. Back to work, Frank.

      • Hentry Rowengartner

        Frank – Some kids know much more than they are given credit for. I think one kid I would likely be willing to offer that credit to would be the valedictorian of the class.

  • Tjkat

    So what happened to free speech now!! Educators should practice what they preach. Peter you can only make changes from the inside! Good luck to you in the future.

  • Bart

    Wow, look at how many likes he has on fb. Isn’t that what it’s all about? gaining fame and being all over the internet? It does pay to get a speech approved and then deceive (lie) and not follow the script. A guaranteed college activist in the making. But for now, wow, he’s trending on the web and that’s important in this day and age

  • Mancher

    I’m surprised that kids from the viewing area can even make speeches nowadays. Frackville has 40 year olds still living at home and using a series of grunts and farts to communicate with ma and pa.

  • Sam I Am

    Way to go Wyoming area school district, you have proven that you could care less about

      • Sam I Am

        Thanks teach, I don’t know how I ever made it this far in life by not spelling a few words correctly, Its the Internet not an English exam, who gives a flying or fiddlers about punctuation and spelling.

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