New Hampshire superintendent reverses principal’s decision to censor photo of female ‘class sweethearts’

After the principal of Dover High School said two girls could not be elected “class sweethearts” for the yearbook senior superlatives section, the superintendent overturned the decision.

Nicole Salisbury and Ashley Lagasse were overwhelmingly chosen — receiving 77 percent of the vote — over other couples when the yearbook staff conducted a survey in November. Principal Robert Pedersen, however, said the results were not valid, and the girls could not appear in the yearbook under the “class sweethearts” title because the ballot asked students to select one male and one female for the category.

“I advised that according to the ballot, the first couple which qualified, i.e. male/female, ought to be the winner,” Pedersen said in a statement. “I considered it unfair to change the rules and intent of the balloting after the event.”

On Tuesday, Superintendent Armand LaSleva intervened, saying the vote is valid, and the girls will appear in the 2002 yearbook as “class sweethearts.”

If LaSleva had not stepped in, the yearbook staff had already decided to eliminate the category, instead of selecting the second place couple, which was a female and a male, for the superlative.