A San Tan Valley high school has apologized for publishing “inappropriate quotes” from students in the yearbook, drawing debate on social media.
Meanwhile, many students and parents have said the quotes were funny and the controversy has been overblown.
At least 15 to 20 “inappropriate” quotes ran in the Poston Butte High School yearbook that was released May 12, according to the Florence Unified School District.
The quotes range from being generally negative or rude, such as “I hate all of you” and “The past 4 years felt like prison,” to referencing drugs, sex or other adult topics, such as, “If you have never thought about dropping out and becoming a stripper once, you’re lying.”
The school’s principal issued a public apology Wednesday morning and officials have arranged for students to have the option to return the yearbook for a full refund or receive free stickers to cover up the quotes.
Not a single student had taken the offer as of Thursday afternoon, according to district spokesman Richard Franco.
The English teacher in charge of the yearbook club, Sharon Fonzo, has lost her status as the club’s sponsor, he said.
Fonzo has taught for 20 years and also sponsors the National Honor Society, according to the school website. The Republic reached out to her but did not hear back.
“She is a kindhearted person and only wants to make people happy,” senior Jasmine Weis said about Fonzo. “If anyone deserves to sponsor the yearbook, it’s her.”
One quote described a ‘bromance’
“We sincerely apologize to our Poston Butte families and community. The oversight by school staff to properly review and edit the yearbook is unacceptable and the school is working to remedy the situation,” principal Steve Tannenbaum wrote in the public apology.
More than 400 yearbooks were sold for between $65 and $75. They were titled “Changing Y(our) Story” and have a cover that changes appearance when moved.
The quote that most people have considered the most inappropriate is a male student’s description of a “bromance” with another male student in which they showered together naked in the locker room as other people took photos.
“The student put the quote in and he thought it would never make it in, and they both said, ‘Yeah we thought it was funny,’ ” Franco said.
“We’re very apologetic for anybody that was offended,” he said. “We feel awful that it got published and it’s embarrassing, but the feedback so far from our families has been somewhat supportive.”
Standing behind the quotes
Weis, 18, said that she hasn’t heard of any students being upset about the quotes.
“I think everyone has their own ways of perceiving things. Everyone has a different sense of humor. You have to really know the student in order to understand their quote,” Weis said.
Her quote was, “My hair is straight, but I’m not,” she said. She’s not sure if her quote is considered among the “inappropriate” ones, but said she stands behind it.
“I don’t believe it’s a big deal,” Weis said. “The yearbook is for the students, by the students.”
Parent: ‘Am I offended by it? Absolutely not’
“I don’t think you’ll find anyone out here bashing the book,” parent Carrie Ribeiro said. She has a son in ninth grade and a daughter in 11th grade at Poston Butte.
She said her daughter told her that “they were just trying to be funny; we don’t see anything wrong with it.”
“Am I offended by it? Absolutely not,” Ribeiro said. “Just a couple of those comments did make me sad for those children.”
In one of the quotes, a senior student said they entered high school hating everyone and is now leaving hating everyone “and myself.”
“I was just like, oh my gosh, if that was my senior I would be like, ‘What’s going on, baby?’ “
Carmelita Valenzuela, who also has two children attending Poston Butte, said she thought the quotes she saw were funny. “I don’t see anything wrong with them whatsoever.
“The majority of these kids are 18 years old; they’re young adults. My son is going to be 19 this year. And it’s just how they feel about their senior year and leaving high school.
“I think what was actually written in my son’s book from some of his friends to him joking was probably way worse than what was actually the quote.”
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