School says no to yearbook quote

Family in confusion over denial reaches out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.
April 14, 2014 3:28:02 PM PDT
As an artist and writer, Sanford high school student Synjyn Schaller loves to design.

"I love the ability that industrial design provides to take something artistic and creative and give it a real world application," he explained.

A senior at Southern Lee High School, Synjyn admits while he's done well in school, the classroom setting has always been a struggle.  With Synjyn graduating this year, his parents have the opportunity to buy a "shout out" in their son's yearbook.

"We saw this quote, and it was so perfect," said Synjyn's father Bret.

The quote is from Synjyn's favorite movie 'A Beautiful Mind', and it says "Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity."

The shout out goes on to say, "Synjyn, so proud of you for rising above it! Father & Mother"

Synjyn's dad knew it fit him to a tee.

"Every kid learns differently. Every environment's different. There's no one kid. We've got wonderful teachers here in town; it's not the teachers. It's each kid has their own way of learning and their own way that they excel in," he said.

But soon after the quote was submitted, the family was told the yearbook advisor and the principal both agreed that it was not appropriate and it wouldn't print it.

The email Bret got from the yearbook advisor stated the quote may offend some people and it demeans the hard work that the faculty, staff, and all students put into their classes.

That was surprising to Bret since the author of the quote us Dr. John Forbes Nash, an educator himself. 

"I'm like 'Well how can you reject this quote, and defend it on the fact that you're offending teachers, if it's a quote from a teacher?'" said Bret.

The principal at Southern Lee High School told me, in part, "Evaluating quotes for the yearbook can be difficult. On one hand, we want everyone to celebrate our students' achievements and provide a way for everyone to share thoughts with friends and family.  At the same time, this is the kind of publication where we would not want to diminish the hard work of our teachers and students in an interactive classroom."

He added Synjyn's dad never contacted him, but the school celebrates Synjyn's achievement and would love to find a way to do that without creating any misunderstanding among students, faculty, and staff.

Bret has since reached out to the principal and is hoping to talk with him about the quote. But so far, no compromise has been made.

I'd like to hear what you think about the quote "Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity." Is it offensive or would you have no problem if you saw it in your child's yearbook as part of a shout-out.

Click here to comment on my Facebook page.

There's great news for Synjyn. He just learned he got accepted into NC State's industrial design program. He tells me it only has 16 spots, and he got one of those spots.


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