High school principal Ben Nakamura raised a few eyebrows when he used the school’s commencement ceremony as a platform for his farewell speech to his students.
After serving just one year the now-former principal of Stagg High School in Stockton, California, found out that he would not be returning to his post after summer break. Nakamura informed the students that he had just been voted out that week in a 4-3 vote by the school board.
It’s not clear why the high school principal was voted out but he told the graduating students he was being forced out because he loves the school and the community.
“I came here to serve you, to love you, to be in the mix and the grind with you,” he said. He told the students that working at the school appealed to him after he saw a fight that took place there that made the news. He told students that he loved his job there and encouraged them to do their best. He also used the struggles in his own life as examples of perseverance.
“I wanted to tell the kids why I left, so they would know I did not leave them, I did not turn my back on them,” he told the Record.
Spokeswoman from the Stockton Unified School District, Melinda Meza said that it was regrettable that Nakamura “chose to use this platform for his own grievances.” At one point during his sermon, he said most well-to-do people “will do whatever it takes to stomp on top of others and pull them down to climb their way to the top” and those people do not deserve respect.
“There were strict COVID-19 guidelines, so no principals were allowed to give a speech,” Meza said, according to the paper. She told Fox News in an email that one mother said, “My son worked hard during COVID and wanted this day to be about him and his fellow students. Not some HR stuff and drama”
Sofia Colon, a parent, told Fox 40 that the principal is loved by the students.
“That speech tells me how honest this principal is with his students. Tell the students, be a mentor to your little brothers and sisters. He told us where he came from, how relatable, how vulnerable. That was my takeaway: Don’t be a sellout, tell the truth,” she said.
Meza said he was escorted out of the building and made to turn in his keys.