ANDOVER, Mass. - The 2018 yearbook for Andover High School has been pulled after administrators discovered one of the senior quotes used has ties to Nazi propaganda.
On a letter addressed to the school, Andover High School Principal Philip Conrad expressed his disappointment with having to retract the yearbook, saying, in part:
"We are horrified to learn now that one particular quote, unattributed on the yearbook page itself, is generally attributed to either Adolph Hitler or Joseph Goebbels about propagating lies and having people believe those lies to be the truth. Quoting a racist dictator bent on genocide or his minister of propaganda has no place in our school or our community and it is deeply upsetting to all of us."
Principal Conrad said they made the discovery only after the yearbook had been distributed to some students.
"We are appalled and angered that this quote was submitted, and I aks you to please accept my deepest apologies on behalf of our faculty, staff and administration for the insertion of these words in the yearbook," Conrad added. "Hate speech has no home here, least of all cemented in what should be a cherished keepsake. This is not reflective of who we are."
After launching an investigation into the origin of the quote, the school learned that the student who used the quote took it from source which had not identified the author of the quote.
"That person's grandchildren are going to see that one day and they're gonna be like, 'hey, grandpa, why did you say that?' [and] he'll be like, 'you know what, I don't know,'" said Matthew Marad, a future Andover High School student.
The school concluded the student was unaware of where the quote came from or "the hateful background with which it is associated." The student said he sincerely regrets his choice in using the quote in question.
"It was just an honest mistake," said Taejasdi Narayan, a former Andover High School student.
The school will no longer be selling their 2018 yearbook until the page with the quote is replaced. Anyone who had already purchased a yearbook may either pick up a custom-printed sticker or have it sent to them. They can also return the yearbook ti the school by Tuesday, June 19, to have the page replaced by the publisher.
The letter also mentioned an previous incident where swastikas were found drawn on a desk at the high school on the first day of Hanukkah last year.
"As a school, we began to take remedial steps after the incidents here in December," said Conrad. "Rest assured that we will continue to do that work. It is important that all of us feel safe and welcomed in our schools and that hate and hate-speech be addressed directly in a straightforward and effective manner."
Rabbi Robert Goldstein of Andover's Temple Emanuel said the context in this instance is very important.
"It kind of slipped through," said Rabbi Goldstein. "And again, innocent on everyone's part, I believe. Obviously one has to separate the source, that is offensive, but the intent was not. And I think we have to be really careful about clarifying that and understand that this student was not doing something to deliberately hurt anybody."
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