A New Jersey high school is facing accusations of censorship by students and parents after yearbooks were printed with digitally altered photos that removed the mention of Trump from the clothing worn by two high schoolers in their pictures and editing out a Trump quote chosen by a student to appear underneath her photo.
As reported by CNN, Grant Berardo, a junior at Wall Township High School located in the city of Wall, New Jersey received his copy of the yearbook and was startled to find that the t-shirt shown in his picture didn’t reflect what he actually wore on picture day.
Grant had worn a shift with the phrase “TRUMP: Make America Great Again” on the front, but the lettering didn’t appear in the yearbook photo. The wording was present in the picture proof he received in November, and the family approved its use as a yearbook photo.
Speaking about the change, Joseph Berardo, Grant’s father, said, “He was disappointed. This was the first election he has been interested in.”
He went on to say, “I want the yearbooks to be reissued, and I want a letter from the administration explaining why they are reissuing the yearbook.”
High school junior Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago also received a similar surprise when the Trump logo was missing from the best he wore in his school picture. His sister, Montana, also saw that her requested quote was missing from her freshman class president photo.
Montana had requested the Trump quote, “I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big,” though it was not printed.
The mother of the teens, Janet Dobrovich-Fago, said, “I want the school to seek disciplinary action and to be held accountable,” referring to the unexpected edits.
A letter was sent to the parents of Wall Township High School students by the superintendent, Cheryl Dyer, saying that the matter was under investigation.
Dyer said, “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 continued, “Rather, I applaud student for becoming involved in politics and for participation in out democratic society.”
Dyer went on to assert that the administration “was not aware of and does not condone any censorship of political views on the part of our students.”
In a statement later released by Dyer, she said, “The allegations referenced above are disturbing, and any inappropriate challenge to the [principles of free speech] will be rectified as swiftly and thoroughly as possible.” She went on to say, “The actions of the staff involved will be addressed as soon as the investigation is concluded.”
One mention of Trump did remain in the yearbook, as his winning the 2016 presidential election is covered on one page.