A teacher at a New Jersey high school has ben suspended after yearbook photos of two high school students wearing shirts with President Donald Trump’s name were altered.
Wall Township School Superintendent Cheryl Dyer told a New Jersey television station on Monday the yearbook’s adviser was suspended while an investigation is underway.
Two students at the school who wore clothes with Trump logos found that the school had censored them, in one case simply cropping the photo but in another, using Photoshop to turn a shirt with "Trump — Make America Great Again" emblazoned on it into a plain blue shirt. In another case of censorship, a student who had submitted a quote from the president to use as her senior quote in the yearbook found it was not included.
"We're very angry," Janet Dobrovich-Fago told NJ.com. "When we saw that Montana's [her daughter's] quote dropped out, we thought it was a mistake because all the other class presidents' quotes were still there. But when we saw that Wyatt's [her son's] shirt was photoshopped and we heard about Grant, I knew this was not a coincidence. This was purposeful and it's wrong."
Montana, the freshman class president, had included a Trump quote, telling WABC the quote was: "I like thinking big, if you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. By Donald Trump."
NJ.com said "the kid wearing the Led Zeppelin shirt wasn't photoshopped. Nor was the kid wearing an Alice Cooper shirt, or the kid with the Super Mario Brothers shirt. Or any of the kids wearing college shirts, apparel logos, athletic company tees, and all the other stuff kids wear." Only Trump was censored.
Dyer sent a letter out to parents after the story appeared in this space Friday afternoon, saying she was "investigating an allegation of censorship and the possible violation of First Amendment rights in the high school yearbook this year."
"Two parents have made me aware ... the attire of their children was altered and that comments or quotes were not published," the letter said. "In all of the instances that I am aware of, references to and support of President Trump were removed.
"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," the letter said. "The high school administration was not aware of and does not condone any censorship of political views on the part of our students. ... The actions of the staff involved will be addressed as soon as the investigation is concluded."