For years, Susan Parsons mentioned she was advised by directors to take away “controversial” content material from the highschool yearbook in Wall Township, N.J.

Ms. Parsons, a trainer and the yearbook adviser, mentioned in courtroom papers that she needed to erase from a photograph a feminist bumper sticker on a pupil’s laptop computer, Photoshop “pretend” clothes onto shirtless college students on a college journey to Bermuda and take out questionable hand gestures.

Nevertheless it wasn’t till 2017 that one specific edit thrust Ms. Parsons and the district right into a nationwide firestorm over free expression and political opinion.

Ms. Parsons was suspended after eradicating a reference to Donald J. Trump on a pupil’s shirt, an motion that led to widespread information media consideration and demise threats, in keeping with a lawsuit she filed in opposition to the varsity district.

Ms. Parsons mentioned she had been advised by the principal’s secretary to take away Mr. Trump’s title and his slogan, “Make America Nice Once more.” Ms. Parsons was then publicly scapegoated and muzzled by the district, the swimsuit mentioned.

On Tuesday, the district’s board agreed to a $325,000 settlement to resolve her claims. About $204,000 might be paid to Ms. Parsons, and the remaining will cowl her authorized charges and bills, in keeping with the settlement, which says the district’s insurers will cowl the prices.

“We’re pleased that Susan was in a position to obtain the justice she deserves,” Christopher J. Eibeler, her lawyer, mentioned on Saturday. Underneath the settlement, previously reported by NJ.com, the district denied any wrongdoing.

The district and its lawyer didn’t reply to requests for touch upon Saturday. Cheryl Dyer, who was the superintendent on the time of the picture alteration, mentioned she had retired from the district and will now not converse for it.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Parsons mentioned she felt it was unethical to closely edit yearbook photographs and had complained to the administration that the “yearbook ought to replicate actuality.”

She was advised to take away the reference to Mr. Trump on the coed’s shirt in December 2016 after she went to the administration workplace to choose up drafts of the yearbook pages, the lawsuit mentioned.

Ms. Parsons mentioned she had agreed to change the picture however was confronted by the coed after the yearbooks have been handed out in June 2017. “Why did you edit the phrase Trump off of my shirt?” the coed requested. She advised him to speak to the principal.

Later that day, one of many pupil’s mother and father emailed Ms. Parsons, saying the coed’s image had been “edited with out his/our permission.”

“I wish to perceive who made that call,” the e-mail mentioned, in keeping with the lawsuit. “We felt the shirt he wore was acceptable.”

Two different college students then complained {that a} Trump emblem and a quote attributed to Mr. Trump had been faraway from the yearbook.

Ms. Parsons mentioned in her swimsuit that the brand had been cropped out by a photograph vendor and a pupil who labored on the yearbook had left the quote out by mistake. Nonetheless, outrage was already exploding in Wall, a township of about 25,000 close to the Jersey Shore that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and in 2020.

Ms. Parsons mentioned the varsity administration had begun a public marketing campaign to defend itself from duty by making a “false narrative” that she was chargeable for the adjustments.

For instance, Ms. Dyer despatched a letter to oldsters on June 9, 2017, that said, falsely, in keeping with courtroom papers, that “the highschool administration was not conscious of and doesn’t condone any censorship of political opinions on the a part of our college students.”

On June 12, 2017, the coed whose emblem had been eliminated appeared on one among Mr. Trump’s favourite applications, “Fox & Friends,” and mentioned, “The folks or one who did this needs to be held accountable as a result of it’s a violation of mine and different folks’s First Modification rights.”

That very same day, Ms. Parsons mentioned, she was summoned to a gathering with Ms. Dyer and was suspended. Days later, Mr. Trump drew extra consideration to the difficulty, decrying “yearbook censorship” at the highschool in a Facebook post.

Credit score…through Susan Parsons

Ms. Dyer said at the time that the yearbook alterations had amounted to “censorship and the potential violation of First Modification rights.”

“This allegation is being taken very critically and an intensive investigation of what occurred is being vigorously pursued,” she mentioned in an announcement in 2017. The scholar gown code didn’t stop college students from expressing their political opinions or assist for a political determine, she mentioned.

Ms. Parsons advised The New York Post, “We have now by no means made any motion in opposition to any political social gathering.” That prompted Ms. Dyer to ship an e-mail to Ms. Parsons’s union consultant to remind her that she didn’t have permission to talk to the newspaper, the lawsuit mentioned.

Ms. Parsons mentioned the superintendent had cited a district media coverage that was like a “gag order” that prevented her from defending herself.

Credit score…New Jersey Superior Courtroom

Ms. Parsons, who mentioned in courtroom papers that she had voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, mentioned she was quickly inundated with hate mail and harassing cellphone messages that referred to as her a Nazi, a communist, anti-American and a “treasonous traitor liberal.”

She mentioned she had been afraid to make use of her title when ordering takeout meals and feared that drivers may attempt to hit her when she went for bike rides.

When she returned to high school in September 2017, she mentioned, she was “disrespected and ridiculed” by college students and others who blamed her for eradicating the Trump references from the yearbook.

She sued the district in Could 2019 and retired in February 2020.