Kids all over the country received their yearbooks over the past couple of months. Often times students use the yearbooks to memorialize what is important to them at that particular moment in their student careers.
For some high school students, it was to show their support for Donald Trump. At the Wall Township High School in New Jersey, some students wore pro-Donald Trump T-shirts in their yearbook photos.
One of those students was 17 year old Grant Berardo. He wore a navy blue Trump “Make America Great Again” T-shirt for his yearbook photo. However, when he got his yearbook and he and his family turned to his picture, they saw that the Trump logo had been edited out. Instead Berardo was shown wearing a nondescript black T-shirt.
“I sent it to my mom and dad, just like ‘You won’t believe this.’ I was just overall disappointed," he told the Asbury Park Press
. "I like Trump, but it’s history too. Wearing that shirt memorializes the time."
Berardo’s dad had demanded the school recall the yearbooks and reissue them with the unaltered photo. “From my perspective, I don’t understand the censorship,” he said. “I think it was probably politically motivated. It was inherently offensive to somebody and they made a decision to Photoshop it – and without discussion, which is the worst part."
Grant Berardo wasn’t the only student who had their pro-Trump message censored. Wyatt Debrovich-Fago wore a sweater vest with a Trump campaign logo. It too was cropped out of the picture.
Superintendent Cheryl Dyer announced that the yearbook advisor has been suspended. USA Today has identified the advisor
as Susan Parsons. Parsons made $87,950 according to public records. In a statement to USA Today, Wall school board President Allison Connolly said the board "found the allegations of wrongdoing disturbing and take the charge that students have had their free speech rights infringed upon very seriously."
The father of one of the students said he would’ve been as outraged if this was done to a student supporting Hillary Clinton. “What are you doing? Don’t you go to school to debate this stuff — at the collegiate level, at the high school level,” asked Grant Berardo’s dad told USA Today. “What’s frustrating to me is that this was the first election he took interest in, but what message did the school send?”