A New Jersey father was dismayed to discover that his son’s Junior picture was photoshopped. Grant Berardo, a junior at Wall Township High School, had a shirt with Trump’s name on it and the phrase “Make America Great Again.” it was not visible in the photos.
Grant’s father, Joseph Berardo, retaliated by telling the school that they need to issue new yearbooks for all of the students without anything being censored. The total cost was going to be $10,000 for new years books. Since Berado didn’t want the cost to fall on valuable school programs, he donated $5,279 of his own money towards the creation of the new yearbooks. The company that took the yearbook photos gave $3,000, and the company that printed the yearbook, Jostens, covered the rest, according to Breitbart.
In an interview with Asbury Park Press, Grant explained his feelings when he discovered that the photo was edited. The junior explains: “I sent it to my mom and dad, just like, ‘You won’t believe this.’ I was just overall disappointed.”
Unbelievably, Grant was not the only student to get censored. Wyatt Dobrovich-Fago had the Trump logo on his sweater, and it was removed. His younger sister requested a quote by President Trump to be used under her class president photo, and the quote was omitted.
Berado made an appearance on CNN where he explained exactly why he went through the trouble of getting new yearbooks published. He explains: “There is an opportunity to use this as a teaching moment for the kids, and for the teachers as well…This is a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue.”
The ripples of consequence eventually reached yearbook advisor Susan Parsons, the person who made all three edits in the year book. Due to her behavior, Parsons was suspended while the investigation into her actions is carried out.
At this time, it is unknown whether or not she will return to her position. Until that decision is made, the Wall Township Public Schools superintendent Cheryl Dyer is taking over for the 2017-2018 school year.
In a statement, Dyer said: “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.”
Dyer raised a valid point that is worth considering. Shouldn’t they have considered it a good thing that the students were so interested by politics at such a young age? Instead of trying to censor these kids, they should have applauded them for stepping forward and expressing their political beliefs.
Instead, in typical Democrat fashion, they decided to shun these students for not believing in the “correct” candidate. It was both a disrespectful and shameful move on Parson’s part. We sincerely expect better lessons on morality and freedom of speech from our public school systems.
Moving forward, we doubt that this will be a problem in the Walls Township School system anymore. Grant’s father started an important movement that will not soon be forgotten, and it’s only a matter of time before more families push back against school censorship.
A student doesn’t check his or her First Amendment rights at the door of their public school — and at least one school has now learned the consequences of such a violation.