New Date for First Lady’s Kansas Graduation Speech

Families complained that her presence at a combined ceremony would limit seating and overshadow the students’ accomplishments.

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First lady Michelle Obama

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After an uproar by students and parents in Topeka, Kan., over seating arrangements, Michelle Obama will now address a high school graduation class a day earlier, according to the Associated Press.

As The Root reported last week, the Topeka Public School District had invited the first lady to speak May 17 at a combined ceremony involving five schools and commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. That decision struck down racial segregation in public schools.

Now, under the new plan, she is slated to speak on May 16 at a "senior recognition day" ceremony at the same 8,000-seat arena where the combined ceremony was to be held, AP reports. The five schools will now conduct separate graduation exercises. And without security concerns for the first lady, seating will not be limited, the report says.

Maria Cristina González Noguera, Obama’s communications director, said the first lady wants everyone to have the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony.

"Once we learned about the concerns of some students, we were eager to find a solution that enabled all of the students and their families to celebrate the special day," she told the AP Thursday.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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