Teenage girl breaks down in tears as she is interrupted and criticised while giving an emotional speech about her friend’s suicide
- Lily Dorrance, 17, was giving her heartfelt speech when she was interrupted
- Teenager broke down in tears as she felt she had been humiliated by a politician
- National MP Anne Tolley apologised after telling her her to put her notes away
A teenage student has broken down in tears after she was interrupted while giving a speech about her friend’s suicide.
Lily Dorrance, 17, was giving her heartfelt speech about mental health as part of a debate in New Zealand’s Youth Parliament on Wednesday when she was cut off by senior National MP Anne Tolley.
Ms Dorrance was left humiliated when Ms Tolley, who was presiding as chair, told her to put her notes away.
‘I wanted to make people aware of youth suicide, which I was trying to do, but then the Speaker (Tolley) said it wasn’t coming from my heart. It just felt like I wasn’t doing anything right. Like I wasn’t good enough,’ she told the New Zealand Herald.
‘When she interrupted me it was awful… As soon as I sat down I burst into tears and had to leave… It was just humiliating.
‘I thought I would be heard, not bullied.’
Youth Parliament is hosted every three years and gives teenagers from around the country a taste of what life is like to be a politician.
Ms Dorrance, who finished high school two weeks ago, has no desire to be a politician but wanted the opportunity to speak about mental health.
The Christchurch teenager wanted to get involved in helping her community after witnessing the shocking aftermath of the 2011 earthquakes.
‘It was only a few months ago that I lost a friend, classmate, to suicide,’ she told the House on Wednesday night.
She said the the $1.9 billion pledge to mental health was good but it did not go far enough.
‘What young people really need is open communication, education and accessible mental health and wellbeing services. This requires a system where mental health education, from qualified experts, is part of the school curriculum right through Year 13.’
Ms Tolley then cut her off, and said; ‘Put your notes away. Tell us what you think we need.’
Others in the room jumped to her defence and asked for leniency but Ms Tolley refused.
Lily Dorrance (pictured), 17, was giving her heartfelt speech as part of a debate about mental health in New Zealand’s Youth Parliament on Wednesday when she was cut off by senior National MP Anne Tolley
Ms Dorrance managed to complete her speech before she fled the building in tears.
Ms Tolley later released a statement where she apologised to the teenager.
‘I’m so sorry if I upset anyone and certainly apologised to a couple of people,’ Ms Tolley said.
‘I was trying to get them to speak ”from” their notes rather than just ”read” them in the general debate which, as you know, is a robust debate in Parliament.
‘I feel terrible that it upset a couple, but we heard many outstanding and passionate speeches and I certainly admire them all for that.’
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