Father of Wall student pleased with investigation of Trump yearbook blackout
WALL — The father of one of students whose Donald Trump clothing was blacked out in his yearbook picture said he is happy with how the district is handing their investigation.
"I was very pleased, quite frankly, with their approach which was the fact it's a serious issue," Joe Berardo told New Jersey 101.5's Steve Trevelise on Monday night.
Berardo and the parents of Wyatt and Montana Dobrovich-Fago met with Wall Township school superintendent Cheryl Dyer earlier in the day to discuss how his son Grant's T-shirt, which had the slogan "Donald Trump: Make America Great Again," was blacked out when the yearbook was released to students last Wednesday.
A Trump quote from Montana, the freshman class president was left out and a Trump logo on Wyatt's sweater vest was also edited out.
Dyer earlier said she is investigating the incident along with the principal and assistant principal at the Monmouth County school with an enrollment of 1,207.
Berardo backed off his demand for a new edition of the yearbook to be printed at the school's expense.
"I was kind of hell bent on new yearbooks for everybody but stepping back what I don't want to do is spend a lot of money on something that's going to hurt another program," Berardo told Trevelise. "I think over the next few days we'll have something that is going to work for everybody."
Berardo said the matter is a teachable lesson for students and teachers.
"Let's focus on the lesson. The lesson is you can't censor people. This is not something we do in this country. Two, let's find a way to do it to get across it across to the kids, the teachers, the community," Berardo said.
Dyer did not comment on the specifics of her meeting with the parents, but did confirm that the yearbook advisor Susan Parsons has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
"She's been suspended, I'm certain she's not feeling great right now," Berardo said. He added that doesn't want her career to be hurt by the incident. "I don't want the woman to lose her career...her livelihood. I don't think that's the answer."
Berardo isn't waiting for President Trump to tweet about the incident. "We're really trying to make sure this is about the issue instead of the candidate or the man" pointing out that the issue would be the same if a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders shirt had been edited.
Berardo said his son, a football player, is concentrating on his finals out of the media spotlight. But he did get at least one thing out of this experience.
"He told me at lunch 'Dad I was struggling with a topic for my college essay as I finish my applications. I have a lot of material here now,'" Berardo told Trevelise.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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