A teacher at a New Jersey high school was suspended this week after allegedly censoring photos and quotes in the school year book to remove references to Donald Trump.
Grant Berardo, a junior at Wall High School, posed for his yearbook photo in a t-shirt that included the phrase “TRUMP: Make America Great Again.” In the photograph that was published, Berardo’s clothing had been digitally altered into a plain black T-shirt. For his photo, Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago wore a fleece with “TRUMP” printed on the breast, but the president’s name was cropped out in the final image. His sister, Montana, who is the freshman class president, submitted a quote from Trump to run alongside her photo. The quote never made it into the yearbook either.
Wall Schools Superintendent Cheryl Dyer said Friday she was investigating why the censorship occurred.
She told the Asbury Park Press that she was “quite disturbed by the entire situation.” She stated that “Political shirts are absolutely not a violation of the dress code” and there’s no policy prohibiting political messages in school pictures. The school said Tuesday that students did not play a role in the decision to censor the Trump-related content.
Susan Parsons, the yearbook adviser, has worked in the Wall District for 15 years, according to her classroom webpage. She is described on the high school website as part of the technology/media department and lists digital media design and computer technology among the courses she teaches, in addition to the yearbook class. Attempts to contact Parsons for this story were unsuccessful.
Joseph Berardo, the father of one of the censored students, said he wants the school to issue new yearbooks with the un-altered photos and would consider legal action if that doesn’t happen. In response, the school has offered to send home stickers that could replace the images.
“They’re going the right direction,” Berardo told the New York Post. “I’m pleased with the way they’re handling it.”