Dear Editor,

I am disappointed and disgusted by Sen. Ben Sasse’s graduation speech to the Fremont High School Class of 2020. Sasse disparaged the graduates, their teachers, attacked mental health professionals, and promoted racism. Instead of building our graduates up, he promoted divisiveness and disrespect.

In his speech, Sasse implied the 2020 graduates are lazy and out of shape (the senator might check the Fremont High track and field records for girls. Nearly every record has been set in the past four years.). He belittled the accomplishments of graduates and rather than inspire, injected international politics into his rambling speech.

I believe Sasse owes an apology to Fremont and all 2020 graduates, educators and mental health professionals.

On behalf of the 28,000 educator members of the Nebraska State Education Association, I congratulate Nebraska’s 2020 graduates. This is a proud moment for you. Your teachers share in your excitement and celebrate accomplishments. We recognize and applaud you for the unique challenges your graduating class has faced. The Class of 2020 has earned an “A” for tenacity in overcoming the unique challenges created by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Sasse receives an “F” for a graduation speech that will long be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Jenni Benson

President, Nebraska State Education Association Lincoln

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