When Philip Garber Jr.’s history teacher at New Jersey’s College of Morris told him not to ask questions during class because his stutter took up too much time, Garber was not content to simply sit in silence.

Many typical 16-year-olds are thinking about term papers, college entrance exams, and maybe their plans for the weekend. “Taking a stand against discrimination” isn’t usually on the agenda, but Garber isn’t a typical teenager.

He told school officials about the incident, and switched classes.

In a press conference Tuesday, Garber said, “If you don’t advocate for yourself, then society will make their own assumptions on how you should be treated.”

“The challenge is, how do you appropriately accommodate someone who has this particular disability. Especially in an academic environment,” said Dr. Bette Simmons, VP of Student Development. “Philip is helping us learn ways to do that.”

In the process, the young man has become a bit of a media sensation. The video below, in which he talks about the struggles and triumphs of stuttering, has already racked up more than 12,000 views. The overall message? Everyone with a voice deserves the chance to speak.

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