Teacher: I Was Scapegoat in Trump Yearbook Dispute

She says she was ordered to censor photo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2019 12:03 AM CDT
Teacher Accused of Censoring Trump T-Shirt Sues District
Grant Berardo, a junior at Wall High School, flips through the 2017 Wall High School yearbook, which includes a photo of him wearing a digitally altered T-shirt which originally included the words "Trump Make America Great Again."   (Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP, File)

A high school yearbook adviser who was suspended after photos of two students were altered to remove President Trump's name from their clothing is suing the district, saying she was made a scapegoat. Teacher Susan Parsons says in her lawsuit, filed Monday, that officials in New Jersey's Wall Township School District requested the changes in 2017 but then set her up to "take the blame." The district, the lawsuit says, created a hostile work environment that led to harassment and death threats against her and violated her rights by barring her from speaking to the media. Parsons is seeking unspecified damages and asking that the district policy that prevented her from telling her story in the media be struck down as unconstitutional, the AP reports.

"What happened to her is really just egregious," says her attorney, Christopher Eibeler. Parsons—who still teaches at the school, but is no longer on the yearbook committee—says she voted for Trump in 2016 and opposed the yearbook changes, the Washington Post reports. She says the district routinely forced her to edit yearbook photos to alter anything that could be controversial, including words on T-shirts. Superintendent Cheryl Dyer said Tuesday she could not comment on specifics because neither the district nor its counsel had seen the lawsuit, but she is "confident that when the full facts come to light, all of the actions of this office and the board of education will be found to be wholly appropriate." (An Oregon student suspended for wearing a pro-Trump shirt received a $25,000 settlement.)

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