As with many graduating seniors, those at Richmond Early College High School were afforded the opportunity to choose a quote to put under their photos for the annual yearbook.
But after the yearbooks came off the presses and were handed out to a handful of students earlier this week at the North Carolina school, the News & Observer reported that Principal Tonya Waddell discovered some inappropriate quotes under some seniors' photos — including one associated with Republican President Donald Trump: "Build that wall."
NC High School Confiscates All Yearbooks After Pro-Trump Student Writes "Build that Wall" Under Senior Pic… https://t.co/3tufVIDtNX— Jim Eastridge (@Jim Eastridge)1494601997.0
With that, all the yearbooks that had been handed out were taken back the same morning, district spokeswoman Ashley-Michelle Thublin told the paper — adding that there's not enough time to correct and reprint the yearbooks before the end of the school year next Thursday.
Parents of students at the school told the Richmond County Daily Journal that the quotes in the yearbook had to be approved by the principal.
Of the 22 yearbooks preordered, a handful of them were handed out before being taken back, the News & Observer noted.
"Build that wall" has been a rallying cry of Trump's supporters in reference to his promise to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in order to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Trump himself has echoed the mantra in public gatherings.
However, some students at the school criticized the Trump quote on social media, the News & Observer reported, adding that the concerned students said it was racist and hurtful to classmates who are minorities.
But not everybody agreed with the decision to pull the yearbooks.
"What happened?" Jeremy Torgerson asked on the Facebook post announcing Richmond County Schools' decision. "Your graduating seniors, many if not all of whom are now legal adults, didn't go along with your GroupThink?"
"So what else is new?" Fred Zarguna wrote. "Government schools have always been a place where petty little tyrants get their jollies by intimidating, bullying, and indoctrinating children. Parents who send their kids to these brainwashing factories are complicit in their crimes. This principal is one more argument for the school choice these NEA stooges rabidly oppose; they would never survive in a competitive marketplace."
Jim Davidson said: "A pathetic attempt at stopping free speech, and playing politics with young minds. The school officials involved should be fired."
Zane Thomas told the district that "YOU HAVE FAILED MISERABLY AT DOING YOUR JOB!!!! You make me nauseous! So much for teaching the students about the FIRST amendment huh?"
One mother said the student who chose the Trump quote "only stood up for her freedom of speech."
“Every senior was given the opportunity to choose a quote," Charity Davis told the Daily Journal. "It was her right as an American to choose any quote under the sun.”
Davis told the paper that concerns about the quote should have been addressed before the yearbooks went to print.
“Those kids, especially the seniors, have a right to the annuals they already paid for,” she told the Daily Journal. “Seems to me the error occurred with the yearbook committee. Someone didn’t proofread. Whose fault is that?”