A slight majority of respondents to an online Argus-Courier poll said the Petaluma High School administration made the right decision to turn off the microphone of a valedictorian speaker who veered off script to talk about a personal sexual assault incident.

Here are some comments:

“She knew the rules and purposely ignored them. Just imagine if she decided to opine on politics, or religion or whatever controversial topic you choose. Not the time, place, or purpose of a valedictorian speech.”

“A school administration is responsible for protecting all students with the laws guaranteed to them and protecting themselves against liability, like it or not schools are businesses. A school administration is not responsible for protecting a students civil rights regarding freedom of speech, not all speech is protected. The administrator was doing his job.”

“Cutting the speech isn’t this issue to me. Why did the school handle her incident in such a way that she felt this was the only way to be heard? I have a child at Petaluma High and I have concerns that there are issues of assault and drug use not be handled in a way that is making the campus feel safe. I hope we listen now and make the changes on campus that secure the experiences of all students.”

“Even though the speaker should have stayed on script, the decision should have been held off until it was determined that the comments would have been out of line or a threat.”

“Not only is it wrong to censor and mute our youth who need to speak out about these significant issues, but the national attention it has attracted puts Petaluma in a unfortunate retrogressive light.”

“The graduation is a celebration of all graduates. To think one person can highjack the ceremony is selfish on her part. There is free speech, but the school can regulate speech with ‘time, place and manner’ restrictions.”

“The official was doing his job. This was a graduation, not a protest March. That being said, the student got much more publicity than if her mic had not been cut off.”

“There’s a time and a place for that. If there were no rules, there would be chaos.”