Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump slogans are photoshopped out of New Jersey high school yearbook THREE times as the school investigates 'possible violation of First Amendment rights'

A New Jersey high school has censored out mentions of Donald Trump in their yearbook and now the school is investigating the 'possible violation of First Amendment rights'.

One student at Wall Township High School in New Jersey had submitted a Donald Trump quote that wasn't included with her picture.

Two others had Trump logos on their clothes either cropped or edited out of their pictures.

Now those students' parents are calling for the yearbooks to be re-issued and the school superintendent Cheryl Dyer has said she is looking into 'an allegation of censorship and the possible violation of First Amendment rights', according to NJ.com.

When he got his yearbook Wednesday, his picture had been cropped in so that the logo wasn't visible

Montana Dobrovich-Fago, the freshman class president, had submitted a Donald Trump quote to go beneath her picture.

But when she got her yearbook on Wednesday, the quote wasn't there, even though the other class presidents were included, even the senior class president's quote by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

She told WABC her submitted quote was: 'I like thinking big, if you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. By Donald Trump.'

Montana says she submitted the quote on time, but it still didn't show up.

Her brother Wyatt, a junior, wore a sweater vest with a Trump logo to picture day, but when he got his yearbook, the small logo had been cropped out.

At first he thought it wasn't anything to worry about, but when he found out his sister's quote hadn't been included, he told WABC he thought: 'That's kind of crazy, two things against Trump in a way.'

Another junior, Grant Berardo wore a navy blue Make America Great Again t-shirt with a much larger logo to picture day.

When he got his yearbook, the logo had been completely blacked out, even though plenty of other students' logos were not.

Grant's father, Joseph Berardo, said they made sure there were no dress code restrictions before the junior wore his shirt.

'It was the first election he took an interest in, and it was an interesting way to memorialize it,' Berardo told the New York Post.

'I thought it was pretty cool that this guy was running for president,' Grant told NJ.com, speaking about Trump.

Now Berardo is calling for an apology and for the yearbooks to be reissued. 

'The fact that the committee found it OK to censor the president's name or anything that wasn't offensive is just wrong,' Berardo told the Post.

Janet Dobrovich-Fago, Wyatt and Montana's mother told NJ.com: 'We're very angry. When we saw that Montana's quote dropped out, we thought it was a mistake because all the other class presidents' quotes were still there.

'But when we saw that Wyatt's shirt was photoshopped and we heard about Grant, I knew this was not a coincidence. This was purposeful and it's wrong.'

After the parents reported the incidents to the school, Wall Township High School superintendent Cheryl Dyer said she is investigating the allegations.

'There is nothing in our student dress code that would prevent a student from expressing his or her political views and support for a candidate for political office via appropriate clothing,' she said in a letter.

'Rather, I applaud students for becoming involved in politics and for participation in our democratic society.

'The high school administration was not aware of and does not condone any censorship of political views on the part of our students ... The actions of the staff involved will be addressed as soon as the investigation is concluded.'



Anonymous said...

The schools investigation should also include the publisher of the year book, an employee there may have taken it upon themselves to alter what the school produced as the derangement could be that widespread.

Bird of Paradise said...

Take the school offials the publisher and chief editor to task for this act of censorship

Paul Weber said...

You have to admit this was a pretty brazen act of censorship. Given the lack-luster response from the Administration so far, I'm willing to bet that nothing will be done. It will just be quietly sweep under the rug.

Anonymous said...

Paul Weber,

The response has been pretty good so far. The school suspended the teacher advising the yearbook staff, so it seems that they are focusing on the teacher and the yearbook staff and not the printers.

Suspending a teacher in any public school setting is a pretty big deal

I suspect that the other issue has to be "what do we do now?" It is not as easy as saying "redistribute the yearbooks" as the printing company will want to be paid for the second printing. Someone will need to pony up the money and that may take intervention of the school board itself.

I hope the school does something, but what that something should be is up for debate. If the teacher advised the staff to either erase the slogans / logos or approved of the staff doing it, she should lose her position as the yearbook adviser for sure and maybe even other sanctions that are available.

We deal in a quick 7 minute news cycle in which everyone expects things to happen right away. Sometimes investigations take time.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to go back through past year's books to see if there are any Obama or Hillary comments.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

I wonder if those schools with the praises for Obama song books still have them and the school with the Obama mural is it still there or did they paint it over> Hopefuly they recycled their Obama song books into something better

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