HOBOKEN, NJ - The City Council passed a resolution Wednesday urging Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST) to reconsider its decision to not further address the complaints about the High Tech High School Yearbook, which contains what parents and students maintain to be a symbol of hate.
Among the Class of 2020's Senior quotes in the yearbook, one student included "88"—which the Anti-Defamation League lists as, "a white supremacist numerical code for 'Heil Hitler.' H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler."
According to Amy Lin-Rodriguez, HCST Superintendent, "Disrespect wasn’t the intention.” The school is said to have conducted its own investigation into the appearance of the two numerals. The student claims it was a reference to 88th Street Park in nearby North Bergen.
In a July 3 email, Lin-Rodriguez offered refunds to students who wish to return their yearbooks. With Wednesday's resolution, Hoboken's City Council has asked HCST to produce and send to each purchaser of the HTHS 2020 yearbook a replacement for the page substituting the symbol “88” with language such as “88th Street Park” to accurately reflect the intention of the student and to remove the potentially offensive symbol.
"High Tech High School’s Administration should promptly reconsider its initial response to over 1,000 petitioners who have sought for one page of the High Tech yearbook to be modified," said Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen. "With the rise of white nationalism in America, the inclusion of a symbol of hate in the school’s yearbook—even unintentionally—can cause a lasting, harmful impact on the High Tech High School community."
High Tech High School is located in Secaucus. Hoboken City Council has no direct authority over the school, however, a number of students are from Hoboken.
"It was an honor to work with High Tech parents, students, and community religious leaders to introduce and pass a resolution before the Hoboken City Council last night encouraging High Tech to publicly communicate a plan to fix the yearbook page and demonstrate that it will not tolerate symbols of hate targeting racial or religious differences," said Cohen, via social media. "Thanks to Councilwoman Jabbour for co-sponsoring this resolution, and thanks to my Council colleagues for unanimously supporting this important message to High Tech’s Administration."
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