Yearbook quotes cause controversy


Shiphrah Moses

Senior quotes allow seniors to leave a mark before they graduate and capture seniors’ characters.

Shiphrah Moses and Sydney Cicchitto

Senior yearbook quotes are back at Cal High for the second year in a row, but many that were submitted took a long and controversial path to being accepted. 

Seniors were invited to submit quotes to be placed under their portraits in the yearbook through a Google form. 

The form emphasized that quotes must be school appropriate and must not contain “slurs, political statements, innuendos, [and] derogatory/controversial comments”.

Some quotes that were denied, however, did not violate any of the listed guidelines. 

Senior Naya Pollack’s quote was initially denied by yearbook. Pollack’s quote read, “Jewish because the drip IsReal”.

Senior Devin Addiego’s quote, which was also denied, read, “gay people exist”.

“I didn’t think I was saying anything controversial,” he said. “I was just saying a fact.”

However, yearbook adviser Jamie Brindley had a different take on these quotes. 

“We’re reading with a lens of ‘what could be the worst scenario of this quote,” Brindley said. “Sometimes the student may not have meant it that way, but because of the way it’s written, it could be interpreted in a bad way.”

Genevieve Vega, another senior, sent in a quote from the television show Community, reading, “This is the darkest, most terrible timeline.” Vega’s quote was also initially denied. 

“I thought it was relevant and humorous,” Vega said. 

While the quote did not violate any of the stated guidelines on the quote submission form, senior editor Sydney Simmons explained that it is important to look at how the quote might be presented to the community at large. 

“That’s why some of them also get denied,” Simmons said. “Because we’re like, this is not what you want your parents and your grandparents to be looking at.”

The approval process for a yearbook quote goes through three stages. The submitted quotes are first read through by seniors in the yearbook class where they give input on which quotes they believe to be appropriate or inappropriate.

The quotes are then read by Brindley before being sent to assistant principal Catie Hawkins for the final say in which quotes are to be kept and which to be denied.

However, a denied quote is not a permanent decision and students are given the opportunity to appeal or send in new quotes. All three of the aforementioned quotes were eventually reinstated after context was given from each respective student. 

Addiego, however, was still not happy that the quote was denied in the first place. 

“By denying the quote, gay people exist, it felt like it was denying the existence of gay people, which is really not okay,” he said. 

Brindley acknowledged that there are still improvements to be made and is possibly thinking of adding a section in the quote submission form for students to explain the context of their quote. 

“I think we’re all doing the best we can,” she said. “It is not a perfect system, I will admit that.”