N.Y. School Apologizes After Seniors Pick Hitler Quotes for Yearbook

Two high school seniors picked quotations from Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" to appear under their high school yearbook pictures, prompting an apology from school officials.

"It's our responsibility and we failed miserably," said Northport High School principal Irene McLaughlin. "The fact that the book went out in the form it did was a grave mistake on our part."

The quotes picked by Christopher Koulermos and Philip Compton, both 18, were attributed to Hitler in the yearbook. Koulermos' read "Strength lies not in defense, but in attack." Compton chose "The great masses of people ... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."

Compton's father, Steven, said Monday that his son meant no harm in picking the quote.

"I guess he didn't seriously consider the source; he was more interested in the quote," he said. "He's a child."

McLaughlin and superintendent William Brosnan said the yearbook's student staff and its adviser, teacher Robert Runyan, saw the quotations before they were published.

Brosnan said that while the school district has no formal policy for reviewing quotations from seniors, common sense dictated that the Hitler quotes should have been run by administrators before they were published.

The district plans to send a written apology to parents this week. School officials would not comment on whether they would discipline the two seniors or Runyan.

Officials also are discussing with the yearbook's publishing company either reprinting the section in question or offering special tape to people who want to cover the quotes.