Hitler, Stalin, leader of ISIS lauded in high school yearbook

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Somehow the words of the world's most notorious dictator ended up as an inspirational quote in a Pennsylvania high school yearbook. Hitler was not pictured, nor was Joseph Stalin or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS, who also had quotes featured.

QUAKER VALLEY, Pa. (Christian Examiner) – The words of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, notorious dictators responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 million people, somehow made their way into a Pennsylvania high school's yearbook, the Pittsburgh Tribune has reported.

The quotations appeared in the senior section of the Quaker Valley High School yearbook, along with another quotation from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of the Islamic State terror organization and the man chiefly responsible for the Christian genocide that has swept the Middle East since the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

We are well aware of the emotions this has conjured in many of our students and their families, and for that we are sorry. Though the content of the quotes was reviewed thoroughly, the attributions clearly were not.

Officials with the Quaker Valley School District have already issued an apology for the publication of the yearbook and the "offensive" quotes inside. The yearbooks were distributed to students last week.

"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, so why let them have ideas?" The quote from Stalin read.

Another quote, from Hitler, read, "Words build bridges into unexplored regions."

"Be just; the unjust never prosper. Be valiant. Keep your words, even to your enemies," the quote from the terror mastermind al-Baghdadi said.

Superintendent Heidi Ondek, Principal Deborah Riccobelli and high school yearbook coordinator Tamra Rosa issued a joint statement calling the inclusion of the quotes a "regrettable mistake" that the school never would have allowed.

"We are well aware of the emotions this has conjured in many of our students and their families, and for that we are sorry," the statement said. "Though the content of the quotes was reviewed thoroughly, the attributions clearly were not."

A district spokesman told the Tribune the vetting of the quotes was the shared responsibility of the yearbook staff, faculty sponsor and the administration of the school.

Several students expressed shock at the inclusion of the quotes, calling them both insensitive and disrespectful.

The school printed 360 yearbooks, ranging in cost from $69-100 (the more expensive were personalized). District spokeswoman Angela Yingling said the district would issue a refund to any student who wanted to return their yearbook.


In related news, in early May news outlets reported 17-year-old Bayan Zehlif, a student at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga pictured a photo in her high school yearbook wearing a hijab, was incorrectly labeled "Isis Phillips."

That is not her name, however, and the student took to social media to point out the error. 

Susan Petrocelli, the school's principal, fired back in a tweet that LOHS is investigating the "regrettable misprint."

It seems there is a student who previously attended the school whose name is Isis Phillips, but after Zehlif pointed out the error, she said classmates pounced on her for creating a stir.

The other student was also misidentified, according to news reports.

The school's superietendent said both famillies were notified and efforts made to correct yearbooks that had not already been issued.

Mansur Majid, an American Muslim and seminary student told news reporters he does not believe the mislabeling was "an honest mistake," but instead thinks it was "some kind of a wicked joke."

Zehlif had been looking forward to graduation with relatives from Jordan attending. She told reporters she was hesitant to attend since experiencing backlash at the school.