A high school yearbook adviser in New Jersey was suspended indefinitely after two students had their Donald Trump apparel edited out of their school photos.
Susan Parsons, a technology and media teacher at Wall Township High School, will be paid during the suspension while the district investigates why the images were altered, according to NJ Advance Media.
Parents and students complained about the censored images when the yearbook was published last week. In one case, the president’s name and “Make America Great Again” slogan had been removed from junior Grant Berardo’s T-shirt. The same images were missing from junior Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago’s vest.
In a third case, a Trump quote was scrubbed from underneath the photo of freshman class president Montana Dobrovich-Fago, Wyatt’s sister.
Cries of censorship came almost immediately, prompting superintendent Cheryl Dyer to address the issue in a letter to parents on Friday, saying she was “investigating an allegation of censorship and the possible violation of First Amendment rights in the high school yearbook this year.”
“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,” she said in the letter. “Rather, I applaud students for becoming involved in politics and for participation in our democratic society.”
The parents of the three students are demanding that new yearbooks be issued with the original, unaltered photos and quotes.
“There is an opportunity to use this as a teaching moment for the kids, and for the teachers as well,” Grant’s father Joseph Berardo said, according to CNN. “This is a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue.”
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