June 12, 2017
Trump Slogans, Quotes Edited Out Of High School Yearbook: Is This A First Amendment Rights Violation?

As the U.S. is looking into possible impeachable offenses by President Donald Trump amid former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a First Amendment rights violation case is brewing in New Jersey.

New Jersey is vacuuming up headlines after one of its high schools got trapped in a case of a possible violation of First Amendment rights regarding Trump's presidential campaign.

Wall Township High School in New Jersey has come under fire for censoring out mentions of Trump in its yearbook, and students are up in arms about investigating the "possible violation of First Amendment rights."

It all started when a student noticed there was a blank space instead of a Trump quote she had submitted to be included under her picture in the yearbook. "It was a mistake," she thought, even though she had submitted the quote in time.

While Trump is known for his rather controversial speeches, the quote had no profanities and nothing was offensive about it. It was the quote about the U.S. President talking about "thinking big," according to the Daily Mail.

"I like thinking big, if you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. By Donald Trump."
But for some reason the Trump quote didn't make it in the final issue of the yearbook. Montana Dobrovich-Fago, the freshman class president, thought it was a mistake until she saw that everything related to Trump was censored out of the yearbook.

Two other students had Trump logos on their clothes, but both had been photoshopped out of the yearbook pictures. The high school claims it has nothing to do with it, with its superintendent Cheryl Dyer insisting that they would look into "an allegation of censorship and the possible violation of First Amendment rights," according to New Jersey.

Interestingly though, the majority of New Jersey voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (55 percent), while Trump pocketed only 41 percent votes in the state in the 2016 presidential election, according to the New York Times.

The high school is now being accused of obstruction of free speech as well as a possible violation of First Amendment rights, as other students had quotes by other U.S. Presidents in the yearbook.

For example, the senior class president had submitted a quote by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it made it in the yearbook. The brother of Montana, Wyatt, wore a sweater vest with a Trump logo on it.

And even though students and parents insist that there were no dress code restrictions on picture day, the junior's logo was cropped out of the yearbook. Another junior, Grant Berardo, had an even bigger mention of Trump on his T-shirt.

Berardo's T-shirt featured "TRUMP" on his chest and the president's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" underneath. When the junior flipped through the yearbook, there was no slogan on his T-shirt anymore, as it had been completely blacked out.

Berardo's father, Joseph Berardo, explained to the New York Post that it was the first election that his son had taken an interest in and wearing a Trump T-shirt was "an interesting way to memorialize it."

The New Jersey high school censoring out any mentions of Trump could be a possible First Amendment rights violation, as plenty of other students' logos were not cropped out or blacked out.

The students and their parents now want the yearbook to be re-issued, while demanding a proper investigation into a possible violation of First Amendment rights.

Then there are those arguing that Trump himself is violating the First Amendment rights of American citizens by blocking them on Twitter.

There's something about Trump and New Jersey lately. Just days after the yearbook scandal made headlines, the U.S. President crashed a wedding of two complete strangers, according to CNN. Perhaps it was a warning from Trump that he's watching N.J. closely?

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]