Students at an Arizona high school got a big surprise when they opened up this year’s $75 yearbooks and found random chunks of duct tape crudely covering several student quotes that administrators found offensive and ordered censored at the last minute.
The kerfuffle occurred at Sabino High School in Tucson, reports the Arizona Daily Independent.
Officials at the 1,300-student public school ordered the duct-taping scramble to conceal 10 comments they deemed unfit to print. Most of the 10 comments came from seniors.
The yellow blotches in this story’s image are there to protect the names of the kids in the yearbook, who, after all, didn’t ask to be in the news because school officials had their comments taped. The red arrows in the image point to the makeshift tape jobs.
Students on the yearbook staff were forced to perform the manual labor involved.
As a consequence of the mass last-minute masking job, students had no chance to pass their yearbooks around for the all-important signatures from their friends and people they frequently passed in the halls.
The yearbook pages are likely to tear if a student attempts to remove the tape.
School district officials complained of “racist and unacceptable passages” but there doesn’t appear to have been a high standard of judgment applied in the censorship.
For example, a Latina student wrote: “Every Mexican needs a white best friend.” These words did not get censored. However, according to the Independent, the person identified as the student’s best friend did get censored.
School officials reportedly did censor another girl’s poetic comment that she was “drunk on you and high on summer time.”
Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks criticized the last-minute duct-taping decision.
“We don’t know what the school administration was thinking but this does not seem fair to the seniors of Sabino High School,” Hicks told the Independent. “They paid $75 for a book and they put tape all over it. Nothing I have read warrants what they have done. I think the district should apologize or give the kids their money back.”
Board member Mark Stegeman agreed.
“If the high school is going to censor student quotes in the yearbook then they should have done it before they sent it to the printer,” Stegeman said. “The students got less than they paid for and they got it very late.”
Sabino High’s principal is Matt Munger.
According to the Independent, school district superintendent H. T. Sanchez had no idea the yearbooks had actually been distributed and would not answer questions concerning the yearbook censorship kerfuffle.