The New Jersey high school that earned criticism for censoring photos and quotes favorable to President Donald Trump in the school yearbook has now promised to reprint the entire book without the censorship and at the expense of the school.
Wall Township High School Superintendent Cheryl Dyer announced the coming reissue of the yearbook in a letter to parents noting that the fresh copies will be available in two weeks, according to NJ.com.
“I cannot allow the intentional change that was not based on dress code to be ignored,” Dyer wrote in the letter. “I am the Chief School Administrator in this district, and I take responsibility for the actions of those who are employed here. Therefore, I have determined that a re-issuance of the yearbook is necessary.”
The controversy arose last week after students received their yearbooks and two students noticed that their Donald Trump shirts had been censored out of their class photo, one by cropping and another by photoshopping. A third student found that a Donald Trump quote she wanted to be printed next to her photo was left out.
A few days after the story was picked up by the national media, the teacher responsible for the censorship was placed on suspension.
Superintendent Dyer later confirmed that the teacher, Susan Parsons, a 15-year veteran of the school district, was put on suspension with pay while the district decided what else it might do about the incident.
On Monday, parent Joseph Berardo was very critical of the school’s act of censorship and demanded that Wall High School pay to have all the books reprinted at the district’s expense as a “teaching moment” about students’ First Amendment rights.
“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,” Mr. Berardo said, according to the New York Post.
In early reports, Superintendent Dyer had said she thought correcting the photos and republishing the yearbook was not likely. But as the controversy grew in scope, the decision was made to run the reprints.
Dyer said that in the future she would insist that “checks and balances be implemented to ensure that intentional alterations that are not consistent with district policy do not continue.”