US valedictorian goes rogue, slates 'authoritative' school

Peter Butera drew attention to the "lack of a real student government".
Peter Butera drew attention to the "lack of a real student government". Photo credit: Streamable

An American high school valedictorian whom teachers had spent years fawning over has now drawn their ire, after he went-off script to criticise the "authoritative nature" of those who ran his school.

Speaking to the Class of '17 at Wyoming Area High School's graduation, 18-year-old Peter Butera had his microphone cut mid-speech after the school's administration took offence to what he said.

Mr Butera's speech had been vetted in the days before the ceremony - but after speaking about what a privilege it had been to take up the role of class president four years in a row, he went rogue.

Segueing seamlessly out of praise for his fellow classmates, Mr Butera then took aim at the leadership.

"Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government - and the authoritative nature that a few administrators and school members have - prevents students from developing as true leaders," he said.

"Hopefully, this will change."

He continued to lay into the school, calling on those in charge to prioritise the empowerment of students - but it was too late, as the sound was cut to his microphone.

A number of those listening started shouting in protest as Mr Butera was asked to sit down, before he waved and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Mr Butera later said he was far from upset he didn't get to finish the speech.

"I don't think it could have gone any better," he said. "I got my point across and them cutting the microphone proved my point to be true."

Thousands of people have viewed the original Twitter video of Mr Butera's speech since it was posted.

The Wyoming Area School District said the reason they pulled the plug was because "the speech was changed as it was being given" - but Mr Butera isn't buying that.

"I assume if I went off script and praised the administration it would not have gotten pulled," he said.