Graduation gone bad: Salutatorians rip their Detroit charter school

Zainab Altalaqani, 18, left, and Tuhfa Kasem, 17, of Detroit were both named salutatorian at Universal Academy. They used their graduation ceremony speeches to blast their schoolPhoto courtesy of Tuhfa Kasem

The honor students blasted their new alma mater for what they said was an inferior education and a culture of secrecy.

Detroit Free Press - June 10, 2019

Two top students at a Detroit charter school used their graduation ceremony speeches to blast their new alma mater for what they said was an inferior education and a culture of secrecy.

The pair accused Universal Academy on Detroit's west side of churning substitute teachers through their classrooms, backing out of promised benefits, firing teachers who advocated for kids and silencing students and parents who speak out.

CEO Nawal Hamadeh ordered the microphone silenced during the second speech but by then, the point had been made, said Tuhfa Kasem, 17, whose speech was cut short.

"She asked for me to be escorted out but the parents had my back," Kasem said. "The cops came in. The parents were like 'you're not going to touch her.' "

The school called the criticisms unfounded and said the girls had been used by adults with an ax to grind against the school.

More: Valedictorian says her mic was cut when she spoke the names of black victims of police ...
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