Closing the books on Wall’s Trump yearbook flap

WALL TOWNSHIP — Edits that were made to the 2017 Wall High School [WHS] yearbook to remove references to President Donald Trump remained were again discussed at a board of education meeting on Tuesday. Superintendent Cheryl Dyer said that 200 copies of a second printing of the yearbook, revised to restore the Trump references, had been delivered, and 28 copies had already been picked up by students or their parents. As previously announced by the school district, the $10,000 cost of the new printing was being covered by private donations, she said, confirming that almost $6,000 of the cost was donated by Joseph Berardo, father of Grant Berardo, a WHS junior who had a Trump reference on his shirt removed from his yearbook photo. “As some of the donors have requested that their donations be anonymous, I will not be providing any additional information,” Mrs. Dyer said in a statement on Wednesday. The board did not respond to inquiries from the public as to whether or not Jostens, the company that prints the yearbooks, had picked up any of the cost. Ms. Dyer has previously stated that no school district funds were applied to it. At Tuesday’s meeting, she reported on “some of the steps that will be taken to ensure that something similar does not happen in the future.” The issue even drew attention from President Trump himself, who posted on Facebook last month commending Wyatt and Montana for standing up for their beliefs. A WHS teacher was suspended in the aftermath of the controversy, however, the district has declined to confirm a name, “as employees have the right to confidentiality,” Mrs. Dyer said. According to the WHS website, Susan Parsons was the 2017 yearbook advisor. Matthew Kukoda, chairman of the social studies department, is now listed as the yearbook advisor as of the district’s July 18 Human Resources Report. He will be receiving a stipend of $4,444, according to the report. criticism of investigation Meeting attendees, including David J. Fago, Wyatt and Montana’s father, addressed the board on Tuesday, asking for updates on the investigation. The next meeting of the Wall Township Board of Education will be on Tuesday, August 22 in the Wall Intermediate School Cafeteria. The meeting is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.