An apparent reference to President Trump’s campaign promise to build a security wall at the U.S.-Mexican border prompted North Carolina education administrators to confiscate copies of a high school yearbook.
As a result, graduates at that school (and anyone else for that matter) apparently won’t receive a yearbook at all, after school officials determined that it’s too late to reprint a corrected run before summer vacation starts on May 18. Presumably that decision could be revisited, however.
The controversy got started because students at Richmond Early College High School were permitted to include a quote under their yearbook photo. One female graduating senior chose “Build that wall” and attributed it to Donald Trump.
“Build the wall” or “build that wall” was a frequent refrain during Trump’s packed presidential campaign rallies as he barnstormed across the country in the run-up to the November 2016 election. Parenthetically, despite opposition from both political parties in Congress over its funding, President Trump has vowed that the wall will be built to guard against drug smuggling and human trafficking. Even without the wall, illegal border crossings have plummeted to an unprecedented level since Trump took office.
Officials determined the quote in question was inappropriate and confiscated about 22 yearbooks that had already been distributed. Administrators did not hand out the rest of the yearbooks. School district officials also indicated that other inappropriate quotes made it into the now-withdrawn yearbook
“The Trump quote, which said ‘Build that wall,’ has been slammed on social media by some students and others who called it racist and hurtful to classmates, some of whom are minorities,” the Charlotte Observer explained.
The high school has a total enrollment of 259 students, the Observer added.
According to the Richmond County Daily Journal, however, parents claim the principal’s approval was a prerequisite for the inclusion of any yearbook quote.
The phrase "build that wall" deemed too controversial for this high school yearbook pic.twitter.com/4FjP0Ho4oE
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) May 12, 2017
In a statement posted to Facebook, the Richmond County School District provided this rationale for its decision.
“Earlier this week, it was discovered by school administration that Richmond Early College yearbooks had errors and inappropriate comments. The principal immediately collected the distributed yearbooks. We regret that this incident has occurred and are currently working with the yearbook’s publisher to make corrections. As a district, we do not and will not tolerate inappropriate conduct toward any of our students. In each situation, our goal is to provide for the well-being of all of our students and prevent recurrences of inappropriate conduct.”
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Many of the comments under the Facebook posting appear to be negative, charging the administration with censorship and violating freedom of speech for the sake of political correctness.
Anyone who paid for a yearbook will receive a refund totaling about $40 under this decision, which leaves who pays the school district’s printing bill up in the air.
A spokeswoman for the Richmond County School District evidently offered no information as to what other yearbook quotes were deemed inappropriate apart from the “build that wall” quote.
— Education News (@ednewsdaily) May 12, 2017
Whether a border wall is a good idea is obviously a matter of some debate in the country, and reasonable people can reach different conclusions. In the meantime, CNN reported a few days that Mexico is supposedly the second deadliest country in the world based on 2016 statistics. “Mexico’s drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 — second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war.” The Mexican government responded that the report is erroneous and draws incorrect conclusions from flawed data.
Do you think that including a “build that wall” quote in a high school yearbook is so inappropriate or offensive that confiscation is necessary, or did officials overreact?
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]