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Jun 12, 2014 12:07 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Censorship or class prank? Sabino H.S. redacts senior quotes using black tape

TUCSON - Some are calling it a senior prank other says it's censorship. Either way the Sabino High School yearbook is making international news, after a dozen senior quotes were redacted using black tape.

District leaders call the quotes inappropriate and flagged 13 of them, after the yearbook was printed.

Like the cover says '2014 is a year to remember'.

"It's thick black tape and you notice it when you open the book so it's not like it was discreet," says Elizabeth Oien, whose senior quote remains intact.

But more than a dozen others are blacked out, including the yearbook's student editor.

"There was one quote, a writer, who said that she likes to write caucasionally and it was a play on words," says Lori Oien, Elizabeth's mom, "There wasn't anything racial about it."

She feels school administrators overreacted.

"There was another, girlfriends one Hispanic, one Caucasian and they said 'nothing better than having a best friend as a Hispanic' and the other one said 'nothing better than having a white girl as a best friend'," says Lori.

"If they were really trying to censor what was written, they could have taken the extra action and responsibility before it got printed," says Elizabeth.

A district spokesperson says review protocol before publishing was not followed. The first time the principal saw the yearbook was after printing.

"I've heard that you can just take a blow dryer to it and melt the glue underneath the tape and it comes right off," says Elizabeth.

Black tape was provided by an outside yearbook representative, delaying the yearbook being handed out. Seniors got theirs two days before graduation.

"Any by then we were actually done with school, so we probably got half the signatures that we wanted to," says Elizabeth.

Sabino plans to strengthen oversight next year.

The school is offering students a full refund of $75. They say so far they've had only one request.

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