Some are crying censorship in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, after students who were wearing pro-Trump hats had that text blurred out in their high school yearbook.
Two students chose to wear the president’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats during the school’s “Spirit Week” in October and their photo made the yearbook.
But you can’t read what the hats say.
The text of the caps is photoshopped out.
“I just think that whoever did this doesn’t like Trump,” said 16-year-old student Jeremy Gebhart, who attends Littlestown High School. Gebhart believes his First Amendment rights are being violated.
“We were like, they blurred our hats out!” said Gebhart.
“I was infuriated because he wears that hat because he supports our president,” said Jeremy Gebhart’s mother, Lorraine Gebhart.
“He’s not doing anything illegal, he’s wearing a hat of support. It’s very upsetting.”
“Someone used this on purpose to blur out that Trump logo and make their own statement,” she added.
You can clearly see it appears the two young men are wearing plain red hats with no text or political message.
— WTKR News 3 (@WTKR3) May 24, 2019
“Everybody has First Amendment rights, freedom of speech, and they are allowed to think what they want and say what they want — but they aren’t allowed to take that away from other people,” said Jeremy Gebhart.
Why would the school do this?
It appears it was intentionally trying to hide what the students’ hats said.
Local affiliate FOX43 reached out to Littlestown School District and received the following response from school superintendent Christoper E. Bigger:
“I am aware of the yearbook situation and a mistake was made. The mistake was not noticed during the editorial preview process prior to print. We apologize on behalf of the yearbook club. It is not the policy or practice of the district to improperly censor speech. Please understand we are working with young adults who are practicing to become citizens and what better place to do so than in a school setting. We must find a way to have civil discourse around emotionally charged issues with students where the facts are understood and the opportunity to learn is available.”
It’s a good sign that school officials at least recognize that it is wrong to censor students’ expression, political or otherwise.
But at least one student who was featured is not taking this lying down.
“It’s OK to disagree with people’s views, but what’s not OK is taking your freedom of speech and using it to take away someone else’s,” said Jeremy Gebhart.
“You did not silence us,” he added.
This piece originally appeared in The Political Insider and is used by permission.
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