The parents of a New Jersey student say they’re incensed after somebody at Wall High School digitally edited a photo of their son’s T-shirt that includes President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Grant Berardo came home with his yearbook and his father, Joe Berardo, found his son’s shirt was edited, so as to remove the Trump slogan.
“I want all the yearbooks reissued. Everybody gets a brand-new yearbook,” said Joseph Berardo, reported the New York Post. “And I want a letter from the administration explaining why the yearbooks are being reissued, and it should be used as a teaching moment related to the First Amendment in civil discourse,” the father said.
Berardo said he bought his son some $110 worth of photos.
“I don’t think there was a deep-seated plot here, but I think there’s a yearbook committee and a yearbook adviser, and somewhere in the mix someone or several people decided to censor three students,” Berardo added. “The fact that the committee found it OK to censor the president’s name or anything that wasn’t offensive is just wrong.”
The yearbook advisor at Wall High School was suspended, according to a New York Daily News report on Monday.
Trump’s name on another student’s vest was also erased, the papers reported. And another student’s quote from Trump beneath her class president quote wasn’t included. “I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big,” the quote read, CNN reported.
School superintendent Cheryl Dyer said that the Trump slogans weren’t a problem, according to a statement posted on the school website.
“There is nothing in our student dress code that would prevent a student from expressing his or her political views,” she told parents in a message. “The actions of the staff involved will be addressed as soon as the investigation is concluded.”
“Indeed, the administration applauds students for becoming involved in politics, making their voices known, and taking an active part in our democracy,” her statement added.
The yearbook advisor who was suspended was identified as teacher Susan Parsons.
Parsons told the Post, “We have never made any action against any political party.” After she was questioned about whether she knew about the photo manipulation, she told the paper: “I’m going to hang up.”
“There is an opportunity to use this as a teaching moment for the kids, and for the teachers as well,” Joseph Berardo told CNN. “This is a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue.”