An assembly at a New Jersey high school devolved into name-calling and racially charged drama after the speaker drifted from her topic of “digital safety” into a lecture admonishing students for their white privilege. The principal later apologized to students and parents for the speaker’s comments.
Prestigious Princeton High School invited Alison Macrina, the head of the Library Freedom Project, to speak to students about cyber security. Students assumed this would be a practical lecture on how to protect themselves online, but instead got an anti-Trump screed on identity politics.
The speech went south when Macrina began speaking about racist and sexist online trolls. Some of the students in the audience started laughing — they would later argue that they were simply laughing at the idea of trolls.
But Macrina was not amused. She accused the students of cheering for white supremacist symbols like Nazi swastikas. Discussing the incident afterward on Twitter — where she goes by the handle “local resistance” — Macrina said she was “astonished”.
When the student started laughing during the assembly, Macrina emotionally lectured them on their “white privilege”, which only got the students rowdier.
Students strongly objected to the claim they were cheering at swastikas.
@flexlibris Not sure what you're on about. Pretty sure they started laughing when you mentioned "trolls", and then when you pointed them out
— Vlad Stepanov (@Vlad_Stepanov21) November 16, 2016
— Jesus Christ (@deadcrispyjesus) November 19, 2016
Princeton High School’s principal later apologized for the unintentionally political talk.
“We live in a turbulent time with emotions running high,” he told students. “While I can’t make excuses for our speaker, my perception is that she found herself caught up in the post-election climate and allowed that to influence her presentation.”
He also said the speech “strayed from the original message and objective” and the tone was inappropriate.
While high school students becoming obnoxious at an assembly is not uncommon, having a highly partisan speaker preach to students on their political views at a public high school certainly is.
But apparently these are “turbulent times” and anything goes.