Parents Unhappy With New Jersey High School Over Removal Of Trump References From Yearbook

Wall Township High School in Wall, New Jersey, has recently come under fire from the parents of three students for erasing references to Donald Trump in the school’s most recent yearbook.

Whether it was cropping or photoshopping items of clothing with Trump’s campaign slogan in student photos or refusing to print statements by the president submitted by another student as her yearbook quote, the parents of those affected are claiming their children’s first amendment rights have been violated, although they are acting more like it was they themselves who have been silenced. The school has not only been accused of censorship, but the parents of three students want the yearbooks to be reprinted with an apology or, at the very least, an explanation.

One such student is Grant Berardo, a junior at Wall High, who wore a “TRUMP: Make America Great Again” t-shirt for his school photo, only for the slogan to be digitally removed from his yearbook picture.

“He was disappointed. This was the first election he has been interested in,” said Grant’s father, Joseph Berardo. “I want the yearbooks to be reissued and I want a letter from the administration explaining why they are reissuing the yearbook”

Grant Berardo was probably only interested in an election for the first time simply due to his age and it also sounds like his father is trying to push his own political agenda, but Grant wasn’t the only student affected. Another junior, Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago, had his photo cropped so the Trump logo on his vest was cut out and his sister, Montana, had a Trump quote removed from her photo as freshman class president. Montana Dobrovich-Fago wanted to have printed under her picture the Donald Trump quote, “I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big,” but when she opened the yearbook, the space below the photo was blank.

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“I want to know who thought it was okay to do this,” said Janet Dobrovich-Fago, mother of the two teenagers and another parent who appears to be living vicariously through her kids. “I want the school to seek disciplinary action and to be held accountable.”

Parents received a letter from Wall Township Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Dyer on June 9, stating that she was looking into the matter because, although the school’s dress code does prohibit references to illegal activities such as drugs, alcohol, and weapons, there is nothing stating that students can’t show political affiliation.

“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. Rather, I applaud students for becoming involved in politics and for participation in our democratic society,” she wrote in the letter. “The high school administration was not aware of and does not condone any censorship of political views on the part of our students. This includes statements that they might make or clothing with references to candidates for public office that they might wear.”
Both families want the school to issue new yearbooks with the original photos and quotes, with Joseph Berardo asking if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders references were also omitted. If affected, those students, and especially their parents, have naturally remained a little quieter.

Featured image via Wall High School/Joseph Berardo