A Pittsburgh area high school was criticized by students and teachers on Thursday for publishing quotes in the school’s yearbook attributed to several of history’s most notorious mass murderers.
The Quaker Valley High School yearbook published quotes attributable to Daesh leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, leaving district school board leaders frantically apologizing and offering refunds to families.
"Be just: the unjust never prosper. Be valiant. Keep your word, even to your enemies – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," read one quote nestled underneath an encouraging quote reportedly from Joseph Stalin on depriving your enemies the ability to voice ideas.
"This is a regrettable mistake, as the school district would never knowingly condone this messaging in a school-sponsored publication," said a statement signed by Superintendent Heidi Ondek, Principal Deborah Riccobelli, and Yearbook sponsor and English teacher Tamra Rose, who supervised the publication.
"Though the content of the quotes was reviewed thoroughly, the attributions clearly were not," read the statement.
School district spokeswoman Angela Yinglang acknowledged that while students bring in quotes for approval, the "publishing of quotes is a shared responsibility of the yearbook staff, sponsor and administration," suggesting that heads may soon roll at the high school.
Senior Dominque Cagliuso was disgusted when she saw the quotes in the yearbook. "It’s one thing to have a silly quote from your favorite TV show, but to have a quote from dictators is disrespectful and makes the entire senior class look bad," she said.
Despite the controversy surrounding the school administration’s failure, the district refuses to reprint new yearbooks with the quotations pulled, opting instead to provide refunds or stickers for students who simply want to cover up "any offensive quotations."
The high school of 630 students has distributed some 360 yearbooks, costing anywhere from $69 to over $100, if the student opted to have their names engraved on the front.
The yearbook closed with a quote from Adolf Hitler, snuggled right next to the aspiring young face of a female student: "Words build bridges into unexplored regions," it said, indicating disturbing regions that humanity has no desire to revisit.