High school officials try to draw extra attention to some student yearbook quotes, by putting duct tape on them

Although the duct tape apparently can’t easily be removed, high school officials obviously realized that everyone would want to figure out what’s under the duct tape, and with e-mail, Facebook, and the like, students would quickly hear all about it. The students whose quotes weren’t duct-taped over were upset over not getting any such extra attention for their quotes.

No, wait: Surprisingly, that’s not so — apparently, the officials ordered the yearbook staff to duct tape over the quotes that the officials thought shouldn’t be read. Yeah, that’s the way to keep high school students from seeing the material! From the Arizona Daily Independent:

When the students of Sabino High School opened up their new yearbooks they were surprised to find little patches of black and yellow duct-type tape scattered across the pages. According to sources, the censors in Sabino’s administration must have scrambled to cover the ten “offensive” comments offered by mostly seniors with tape in time for graduation day….

[T]he school’s administration would have covered a comment left by a Latina student which read, “Every Mexican needs a white best friend.” Her best friend’s comment could not be seen under the black tape that was stuck over it, but only can only imagine what it read.

Some speculate the comment might be something along the lines of ‘Every white person needs a Mexican best friend.” …

One girl’s comment that she was “drunk on you and high on summer time” earned her the black tape of shame….

“It is inappropriate,” said Board member Michael Hicks. “We don’t know what the school administration was thinking but this does not seem fair to the seniors of Sabino High School. We fought hard to stop teachers from imposing their world view in our other schools’ classrooms. It should be wrong for all of our professionals. They paid $75 for a book and they put tape all over it.

Thanks to Robert Dittmer for the pointer.

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.

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