Hundreds of Sabino High School yearbooks were censored after a successful student prank resulted in inappropriate comments making it into the publication.
The prank, which caused Sabino Principal Matt Munger to have 13 inappropriate comments covered with tape, was the result of a lack of oversight by yearbook teacher Thomas Knutson, said TUSD spokeswoman Cara Rene.
Knutson will be “dealt with administratively,” Rene said. The students who submitted what were determined to be inappropriate quotes will not face any discipline.
“This falls squarely on the shoulders of the teacher,” Rene said. “Kids will pull pranks — they were trying to see what they could get into the yearbook. It’s up to the teacher and the principal to make sure content is edited and proofed.”
Knutson, however, did not follow established protocol in moving the yearbook up through the administration for review before printing, so Munger was not made aware of the comments until it was too late, Rene said.
Munger made the decision to have the comments blacked out in approximately 500 yearbooks, delaying the distribution by five days. Going forward, Munger will oversee the yearbook process and all content will go directly through him, Rene said.
TUSD did not share on Wednesday what the student quotes said, only saying that they were not in line with guidelines in the student handbook or district policy.
“It was inappropriate commentary,” Rene said. “As a school district that is trying to educate kids and give appropriate messages on how to live their lives, this content was not befitting of TUSD schools, which is why the principal reacted the way he did.”
Sabino, which serves more than 1,000 students, is offering refunds on the yearbook, which cost between $65 and $75, depending on when it was ordered. Munger has received only one refund request, Rene said.
“I hope that something that is an isolated incident doesn’t mar the fact that Sabino is an A-rated, Blue Ribbon school,” Rene said.