Voorhees Valedictorian’s mic cut

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

A South Jersey valedictorian had his microphone cut out and his notes crumpled on stage by his principal during his high school graduation speech when he began to touch on his experience as a member of the LGBTQ community.

Bryce Dershem, who graduated from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees on June 17, had begun to discuss self-discovery when he mentioned coming out to his family and classmates in the ninth grade.

“After I came out as queer freshman year, I felt so alone. I didn’t know who to turn to for support,” Dershem said, just before his microphone was cut.

In a video posted on YouTube by Dershem’s father, Eastern Regional High School principal Robert Tull is seen grabbing Dershem’s speech from the podium while replacing the microphone with a working one.

Dershem, who will be attending Tufts University in the fall, told The Inquirer that Tull took his speech and “crumpled it up into a ball in front of me,” a moment visible in the video. Then Dershem said Tull pointed to a preapproved speech “they had essentially written for me and said, ‘You read this, or nothing else.’ ”

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