These are the yearbook photos that got a few students at Princeton High School in trouble

At least two students were suspended for a day because of the senior collage photos they submitted that were published in the Princeton High School yearbook.

One photo appears to be a historic picture of Nazis marching. Swastika flags have been covered with student faces. The photo includes the quote, “Damn you’re brave, or stupid.”

A second photo, a cartoon of figures in North Korea, again includes student faces and a quote in large letters, “Great ideology creates great times. -Kim Jong II.”

Two photos have been blurred because students’ pictures were grabbed from social media for the collages by their peers without the students’ knowledge.

The third  photo was submitted by Jamaica Ponder and she blogged about getting suspended for it. The photo includes artwork in the background, including the N-word, which is only partially visible because a student is standing in front of the painting.

Ponder and at least one of the other students was suspended for a day. Here are the photos. You decide, should the students be disciplined for submitting them to the yearbook?




  1. The students should be encouraged to submit photos they find appropriate. If they are blatantly inappropriate the students should be counseled on why they are inappropriate (This is allegedly a part of their learning experience).

    If the photo is approved and subsequently published, the students should be free from repercussions, as the responsibility lies with the school’s editorial staff.

    1. This is a reasonable suggestion, at least in theory. However, it would definitely invite a contest of who can sneak through the most offensive little tidbit in the background.

      Frankly, getting suspended for a day near the end of your senior year is more of a badge of honor than any kind of punishment.

  2. Did it occur to you, Planet Princeton, that some of the students in the first two photos (which are collages), may not want their photos published? Some are still minors.
    Since they are collages, the person who made them can put anyone’s face in them by copying them off Facebook and them pasting them into the photos. There was no consent. The students who appear in the photos may or may not be close friends with the person who made the collage and may or may not have had any input into the content. By publishing these collages, you are associating those faces with something the students may not have wished to be associated with.

    Jamaica Ponder’s photo is different, because the friends posed all together willingly.

    1. Apparently no one cares about posting the faces of minors. See Ponder’s other blog posts and stories regarding them.

      1. Posting the faces of minors? Go to any school web site, including charter schools, and you will see pictures of minors.

  3. For my son’s yearbook, he submitted a picture in a sweatshirt from a semester abroad. Faculty who were reviewing pictures were concerned that the school acronym and semester year were some sort of a gang symbol. They ASKED him about it. Got his explanation and published the image. This seems like they print whatever you submit. Not very sound judgement on the school’s part. If they did review the images they should suspend that faculty member.

    1. I don’t think it is fair to hold the faculty member responsible for the images that students submit. Yes, I would agree that a screening process should take place for submissions but it is unrealistic to expect every mistake to be caught. Take for example both the collages that are in question here. In the collage featuring the nazi march, one would have to know the image ahead of time in order to have recognized its altered state during the time of submission. In the other collage the n-word and the lynchings most certainly would have been difficult to notice unless someone was intentionally looking for them.

  4. Back in the day, we had school photographers, students, who attended all of the school sponsored events. Only the photos from the source were printed in the yearbook. Maybe a return to a policy like that would help to avoid this type of situation? A year book is not Facebook or Instagram or SnapChat.

  5. I was the editor of high school yearbook an all our photos were reviewed. I guess principal snyder is just too busy to assign someone to review the photos. It’s certainly not a heavy-lift to do that. It’s not rocket science but educators often do what’s convenient for them and punish students like Ponder with inappropriate suspensions

  6. Forget about being politically correct, these collages are not school appropriate, and actions need to be taken against these students. It doesn’t matter what politics or the world thinks of them. Stop being butt hurt and learn from your mistakes

  7. If the school administrators bothered to look over the yearbook before printing and distributing it, these concerns could have been discussed with the students. In the best case scenario, a compromise would have been reached between the students and the school about suitable images. Even in the worst case, the students would have been forced to submit something less objectionable. Instead, because of what appears to be either laziness or ineptitude on the part of the administration, the end of the year has been tarnished for the students who have been suspended as well as for those whose yearbook contains images they find objectionable. It seems strange that this is being blamed on the students when it’s clearly the fault of the administration. With all of the money poured into PHS and all of their employees, couldn’t someone take the time to look at the submissions before printing? The PHS administration should take responsibility for this bad publicity and not blame it on the students.

    1. It’s very difficult for administrators to keep up with the various cultural references employed by children and young adults these days. See e.g., The Urban Dictionary. Many are obscure. On their face they may seem unobjectionable – unless one is “hip” to the particular reference. It’s unfair to expect these folks – underpaid and overworked as they are – to comb through dozens, hundred or – in some districts – even thousands of these student pages. My solution – abolish these pages altogether. Just have nice airbrushed photos of the graduated with those corney “most likely to” do this or that pages. The inmates shouldn’t be running the asylum.

  8. The juxtaposition of these PHS Yearbook articles with those celebrating various high school and college graduates’ stellar accomplishments is interesting. The latter have worked hard and are deserving of our highest praise. The students behind the former? Dopey, self-obsessed, brats with little to no understanding or perspective with respect to the history they evoke.

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