Address the hate symbol in the High Tech High School yearbook

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High Tech High School (HTHS)'s 2020 yearbook clearly contains a hate symbol. 

We call on the Hudson County NJ Schools of Technology (HCST) Superintendent Lin-Rodriguez and the Board of Education NOW to address the fact that HTHS produced and distributed a yearbook that contains a symbol that appears in the Anti-Defamation League's hate symbol database and that an objective observer would reasonably interpret to be a hate symbol. 

The students and the school community have a right to a yearbook free of hate speech and symbols. Superintendent Lin-Rogriguez and the Board of Education must immediately communicate to the students, parents/guardians, and staff to:

  • acknowledge that a hate symbol appeared in the yearbook,
  • state unequivocally that this should not have happened and that it does not reflect HCST’s values of diversity and inclusivity, 
  • apologize for a failed process that failed to remove the symbol before publication,
  • apologize for the harm done to individual students, their families, and the school community,
  • apologize for taking too long to take responsibility,
  • commit that everyone who purchased a yearbook will have a replacement page mailed to them at district expense with instructions for how to replace the offending page, and
  • promise that an internal review will be conducted and changes made so that this never happens again.

Publicly apologizing and replacing the pages right away is imperative! Students should not have to take a yearbook with them for the rest of their lives that remind them of the time the adults let hate speech stand and turned a blind eye. Instead, they should be reminded that the adults in charge took action to correct a mistake and took hate seriously enough to do something to counter it, which is what the replacement page would represent.

The longer it takes for Superintendent Lin-Rodgriguez and the Board of Education to act, the more it seems they are unconcerned and tacitly approve the appearance of a hate symbol in the HTHS high school yearbook.  Act now!