Teacher suspended after pro-Trump content digitally removed
June 12, 2017
A 17-year-old high school student in New Jersey had his “Make America Great Again” t-shirt edited out of his 2017 yearbook photo.
According to the Washington Post, Grant Berardo, who wore the iconic shirt during picture day last October, noticed the change after receiving his yearbook last week.
The edit baffled both Grant and his parents as the shirt did not violate Wall Township High School’s dress code, which only states clothing may not “reference drugs or alcohol or weapons.”
“He was disappointed. This was the first election he has been interested in,” Joseph Berardo, the student’s father, said.
Incredibly, Grant was not the only pro-Trump student who was targeted with such edits.
Another student, junior Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago, had a Trump logo similarly removed from his vest while his sister, Montana, had a quote from Trump erased from the bottom of her photo.
While the school says it is unsure what exactly took place, CNN reports that an unnamed teacher has been suspended. Superintendent Cheryl Dyer also condemned the removals, stating “We are all equally outraged.”
“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,” Dyer said in a letter to parents. “Rather, I applaud students for becoming involved in politics and for participation in our democratic society.”
“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.”
Berardo is now demanding that the school reissue the yearbook, complete with an explanation as to what took place.
“I want the yearbooks to be reissued and I want a letter from the administration explaining why they are reissuing the yearbook,” he said.
Berardo’s father says the incident could be used by the school to express the importance of the First Amendment.
“There is an opportunity to use this as a teaching moment for the kids, and for the teachers as well,” the father said. “This is a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue.”