High Tech High School says they will be reissuing senior yearbooks “not due to any one item in particular,” but because of “a number of items … that undermine that positive experience” after a controversy erupted over an “88” quote.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The administrative team has come to an agreement that the Class of 2020 deserves a yearbook reflective of their time spent at HTHS that commemorates the valuable lessons and positive memories that will last a lifetime,” Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Amy-Lin Rodriguez said in a letter to the HCST community yesterday.
“There are a number of items in the yearbook that undermine that positive experience and we will correct that. Please be aware that this is not due to any one particular item, but rather that we have reached the conclusion that the entire publication does not meet the high standards to which we hold ourselves.”
She added that she felt the yearbook was not able to be given the proper attention it deserved due to the several months of home learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the end of June, an online student petition demanded an apology from the administration, as well as the issuance of a new page in the yearbook, after a student used simply “88” as his senior quote.
The Anti-Defamation League says 88 “is a white supremacist numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler,'” though a legal review into the matter determined that the student, who is still a minor, was referring to a North Bergen park located on 88th Street.
Additionally, the Hoboken City Council approved a non-binding resolution on July 8th encouraging the HSCT to replace the controversial yearbook page in question.
The petition, which now has over 1,200 signatures, questions why the administration still hasn’t apologized, what other items led to the decision to do a reprint, and how the new copies of the yearbook will be obtained.
A spokeswoman for the HCST declined to elaborate beyond what the superintendent outlined, though said more details will be forthcoming soon.
Some parents expressed frustration with what appears to be the final outcome, particularly Lyle Hysen.
“This is a win with a small w as the school will make a new yearbook but does not acknowledge anti-Semitism or show any remorse. The letter from the school says ‘be aware that this is not due to any one particular item’ and fails to acknowledge the hate symbol that promoted the petition,” he told HCV.
“Overall as a parent, I’m glad they are making a new yearbook, but as a Jew, this is unacceptable.”