overachiever discovers brick wall, beats with head

Valedictorian who ripped school denied diploma

The valedictorian of a Brooklyn high school was escorted out of the building and denied her diploma yesterday because she trashed the school in a scorching graduation speech. The school says it won't give Tiffany Schley her sheepskin until she says she's sorry - but the 17-year-old is unrepentant. "I was speaking for my peers," Tiffany told the Daily News. "We've been living with this for four years."

A top student who's going to Smith College on a full scholarship this fall, Schley was brutally honest about the High School of Legal Studies during Thursday's graduation ceremonies in Bushwick.

Among her gripes: The school has had four principals in four years, overcrowded classes, a shortage of textbooks and other basic materials, unqualified teachers, unstable staffing and uncaring administrators who refused to meet with students to discuss the school's problems.

"They always want to keep the problems hush-hush, but what goes on in this school is real," said Tiffany, who was also the editor of the school newspaper, yearbook chairwoman and a member of the student council.

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14 Responses:

  1. lars_larsen says:

    A similar thing happened to me.

  2. zonereyrie says:

    Good for her. And yay for the idiots running the school who, by denying her her diploma, turned this into a news event. :-)

  3. autodidactic says:

    I've been in psychiatric treatment juvies, and I've been in regular schools. There's damn little difference between the two.

    Hell is for children, indeed.


  4. captain18 says:

    My Senior year of high school, the administration tried a program called "PRIDE" whose acronym escapes me 10 years later. One of the forks of the program was, administrators would hand out "Caught You Being GOOD" cards and you could win things that self-respecting high school students generally had no interest in (eg, PRIDE t-shirts), and the things that were interesting were virtually unattainable except by the geeks and the geeks had no use for Chicago White Sox tickets to it served no one.

    At one of the school assemblies for this ridiculous program a kid actually tore up his worthless certificate and was given a day's suspension for it. At the next assembly some students protested by not coming forth and claiming their "prizes". After that, it became mandatory that you come forward when your name was called.

    "Gee, student response isn't fitting our expectations. I know how we can fix that..."

    • baconmonkey says:

      I recall in middle school, as part of some program, I think maybe it was D.A.R.E., the school had a T-shirt design contest. The winning shirt featured a happy, smiling teddy bear holding a baloon. All students were forced to wear the powder blue shirt on that magical day when they all came back from the screen printer. Needless to say, my Anthrax-listening long-haired metalhead 8th-grade self found this notion appauling. So I did the sensible thing, and cut the sleeves off. One of my friends had the idea to "accidentially" spill paint on himself in art class. His defacement was deemed an accident, while my enhancement was deemed worth about a week of detention and a lenghy visit to the school counsellor.

    • sethg_prime says:

      "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

    • omarius says:

      You're damned right. She EARNED that diploma. The requirements aren't "Pass all these requirements AND we like you, too."

      Adults acting like children. Film at eleven (and twelve and one and heck, just go outside and watch for a minute).

  5. omnifarious says:

    That's pretty amusing. Thing is, she isn't slamming her head against a brick wall. The opinion of that stupid, self important principal will matter not one whit in her life from here on out, and she knows it. I bet that school is even more interested in her now than they were before she made her little speech, and I doubt her lack of a diploma is going to stand in the way of them admitting her.

  6. aris1234 says:

    She was obviously being un-american and un-patriotic.

    • caprinus says:

      Exactly. Also, she made Baby Jesus cry and therefore the terrorists have won.

      Love that story about "obligatory P.R.I.D.E. awards", above... Yoo vil zmile, or ve vil zhoot yoo!

    • willco says:

      Un-American? Hell yeah! Those hard working educators are members of the NEA. How dare she criticize union labor!

      And did they ever show her who's boss.

      No one respects the First Amendment more than a teacher (unless they disagree with you).

  7. kyronfive says:

    First Amendment = no diploma.


  8. belgand says:

    If this is a public high school I really wonder what their legal right is to deny her her diploma? After all, she fulfilled all of the necessary requirements for graduation. Assuming that the school handed out diplomas at the graduation (I just got my college diploma approximately a month after my graduation, but that was due to finals going on until the day prior to graduation) she would already have been approved for graduation and thus the school couldn't just turn around and "un-graduate" her without sufficient reason.

    Ah well, if it's just the diploma it's probably not even worth the effort. I feel lucky mine even mentions the degree I got. It doesn't have my major or even the particular college I graduated from (only the university). Getting one diploma after earning two degrees I can more or less deal with, but it's still a bit depressing. Five years of work for an 8 1/2x 11 chunk of paper that I could have cranked out on my laser printer in about 15 minutes. *Sigh*