Wheatley School student apparently booed while giving graduation speech

During the speech, 17-year-old Huda Ayaz, who is Muslim, made comments criticizing Israel.

News 12 Staff

Jun 26, 2021, 12:51 AM

Updated 1,033 days ago


A high school student who attends Wheatley School in Old Westbury was apparently booed by a parent and told to 'go back to Pakistan' while giving her graduation speech.
During the speech, 17-year-old Huda Ayaz, who is Muslim, made comments criticizing Israel. Shortly after that, Ayaz says some parents started harassing her.
"I had adults coming at me aggressively, shouting at me," says Ayaz.
Wearing a hijab under her graduation cap, the Muslim American student made the comment.
"Educate yourselves about international dilemmas including the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Uighur Muslims. Families are continuously torn apart and real human lives are being lost but ignored," she says.
When Ayaz went to receive her diploma, someone said, "Why didn't you say anything about Hamas."
"It was incredibly overwhelming," says Ayaz. "My entire family was shocked by how aggressive they were being and how they were coming towards us like that."
Following the ceremony, the school principal sent a letter to families that says, "the comments were not part of the approved speech."
Ahmed Mohamed, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is now calling on the school to give a public apology and to set the record straight.
"It is absolutely false to say that Huda deviated from her speech," says Mohamed. "That did not happen. It's incredible the way the school has reacted to this by throwing a 17-year-old under the bus."
The school district sent a statement to News 12 from the principal. He insists that he didn't know the speech had been edited prior to final approval. He said the graduation ceremony was not the appropriate place to make political comments and he also condemned any parents who are being disrespectful.

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