Trump T-shirt Logo Photoshopped Out of Yearbook Photo Raises Censorship Questions
The 2016 presidential election has spawned (and will continue to inspire) numerous narratives, many of which, because of the contentious battle between Electoral College winner Donald Trump and popular vote victor Hillary Clinton, will be very testy. The president’s polarizing nature has found yet another place for public debate, as three students at a New Jersey high school are wondering why their pro-Trump apparel and quote did not appear in their yearbook.
The recently released keepsake has Wall High School registrants Grant Berardo, Wyatt and Montana Dobrovich-Fago and their parents calling for a thorough look at why their support of the Oval Office holder met print opposition, with officials saying they are investigating the changes. The Monmouth County pupils attend an institution that allows underclassmen, for picture purposes, to don their preferred garments as long as said items refrain from promoting any illegal activity. Given their status as juniors, Berardo and Wyatt decided to tout their admiration for Trump when meeting the camera’s eye, and Montana, the freshman class president, elected to quote the nation’s 45th leader as a tribute.
“When we saw that Montana’s quote dropped out, we thought it was a mistake because all the other class presidents’ quotes were still there,” matriarch Janet Dobrovich-Fago said of the head-scratching omission. “But when we saw that Wyatt’s shirt was photoshopped and we heard about Grant, I knew this was not a coincidence. This was purposeful and it’s wrong.”
Sources have not listed the excised quote, but all have noted that Berardo’s apparel, bearing the rectangular Trump "Make America Great Again" logo, became a black T-shirt in the final product, and that Wyatt’s vest, featuring the word "Trump" on the upper left-hand side, ran minus any text. With far-ranging interests, other registrants wore shirts honoring such figures as singer Alice Cooper, White House predecessor Barack Obama, Hall of Fame rockers Led Zeppelin, the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush together and video game legends, the Super Mario Brothers, with various logos and plugs for colleges and universities also making the cut.
“If there was a problem, somebody could have just told my mom,” Grant, whose father, Joe, serves as CEO of Concordia Care and hires Wall finance club interns, said of Tammy Berardo, who works at the school. “They had a re-take day. But no one said anything.”
An extensive explanation from superintendent Chery Dyer, who stated the administration did not direct anyone to revise and/or eliminate the pupils’ expressions of free speech, makes clear that she applauds students “for becoming involved in politics and for participation in our democratic society,” adding that she and her peers do not condone “any censorship of political views on the part of our students.”
That Friday-issued reflection, through which she indirectly mentions the Berardo and Dobrovich-Fago families, will certainly be on the mind of Joe Berardo, whom the New York Post noted will be meeting today with principal Rosaleen Sirchio and yearbook adviser Susan Parsons.
“We’re not zealots,” the father, who wants the book re-issued, said of his brood. “We spoke about him wearing the shirt. He made a thoughtful decision to memorialize what was going on during the election. And, at no point, did anyone tell him not to.”
This isn't the first time Trump apparel has been at the heart of a controversy. In March, a Philadelphia attorney was denied service at a Manhattan bar because of his "Make America Great Again" cap.