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Student used quote in yearbook. ‘Horrified’ principal learned of its origins, Mass. officials say

An Andover, Massachusetts high school pulled its yearbook after a quote linked to Nazi leaders was discovered in the publication.
An Andover, Massachusetts high school pulled its yearbook after a quote linked to Nazi leaders was discovered in the publication. CBS Boston

Students and faculty at a Massachusetts high school spend hours every year vetting their yearbook. But this year a quote with a “hateful background” somehow made it into the publication, said Andover High Principal Philip Conrad, according to Patch and other media.

A senior had used the quote, “make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they believe it,” under his photo, according to WCVB. The quote went undetected until yearbooks were distributed, reported the Boston Globe via Boston.com. Then administrators learned of the quote’s origins, the Eagle Tribune said.

Conrad said he was “horrified” when he found out the quote, which was unattributed in the yearbook. The quote is generally credited to Adolph Hitler or Joseph Goebbels, who was Hitler’s minister of propaganda, the Boston Globe reported.

"Quoting a racist dictator bent on genocide or his minister of propaganda has no place in our school or our community and it is deeply upsetting to all of us,” Conrad said, per WCVB.

The school pulled the yearbooks upon the discovery, the Associated Press said. Students who’ve purchased a yearbook can get a sticker to cover up the quote or return it to get a new one, the Eagle-Tribune reported.

School officials say the student wasn’t aware of where the quote came from, the AP reported. Conrad says the student "sincerely regrets his choice."

Rabbi Robert Goldstein, who ministers at Temple Emanuel in Andover, told WCVB that he thinks "it was totally innocent on the part of the high school student who chose this quote. I think it’s probably a reference to all this talk about fake news and what’s real and what’s not real,” Goldstein said.

While Conrad believes the unidentified student meant no harm, he said he was “very disappointed” that the student would use a quote without checking its source and “not think long and hard about what they wanted to say,” the Eagle-Tribune reported.

Openly gay Kearney High School seniors Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz celebrated their sexual orientation by submitting inspirational quotes for use in the school yearbook. When they received their copy, they found blank space below their photos.

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