Graduate’s speech goes viral for calling out school’s alleged sexual assault, bullying, and neglect
via Elija Imai / YouTube

"And to you, underclassmen, who have to endure all the things the school throws at you for two or three more years. A school where the administration closes their eyes to everything that happens at the school. Their school. The sexual assault, the bullying, the depression, the outcasts. They do nothing to fix it."

High school senior Charles Chandler made his mark when delivering his graduation speech at Heritage High School on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019. The student, who made multiple references to the abuse he and others allegedly endured while attending the Vancouver, Washington-based school, used this platform as a means of expressing a disheartening reality many allegedly face on a daily basis.



Charles Chandler Graduation Speech 2019 Heritage High School www.youtube.com


Upon listening to Chandler's speech, it's clear from the rousing response from his peers that the senior's words resonated. Look, this is high school. Ask anyone about their own school experience and it probably won't take long before you, too, will hear stories about harassment, bullying, or even sexual assault.

As serious as these claims are -- the higher-ups at Heritage High School allegedly turned a blind eye to a number of such instances -- it seems that the institution is more-so focused on preserving their image in the end. According to Katu2, after Chandler decided to "go off book" from his pre-approved speech, the school revoked his invitation to walk in this year's graduation ceremony.


"I don't think they should be capable of stopping me from walking at graduation for expressing my First Amendment rights," Chandler said, before revealing that multiple peers reached out to him with their own stories of abuse and the lack of action taken by the school's administration.

"I tried getting help and there wasn't really much help given," revealed Ethan Wheeler, Chandler's close friend.

The young man chose to stick by his words, even after the school's administrators offered him "a restorative solution" in order to get his walking privileges back, and his father Shane has stayed 100% in his son's corner. "I think Charles is learning 100 times more from his stand and looking out for other people," he said. "Hopefully, this will cause a little change."

Will Chandler's call-to-action spark any sort of progress? That remains to be seen. But his words did have a big enough impact to spark the creation of a petition at Change.org. As well, his protest speaks to a bigger problem that teenagers all across the country are dealing with. Simply put, High school bullying is on the rise. So is teen suicide. And while we're not posing the notion that one directly correlates to the other … there is definitely a connection here.


With so many obstacles high school students face, schools seem to be looking less and less as sanctuaries for learning, and more as places where safety is constantly put into question. Is there anything administrators can do to ensure kids feel safe inside these walls? Simply listening to their worries and taking their reports of abuse seriously is probably a good start.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

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Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

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This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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