Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News Second Amendment

Minnesota School District Overturns Ban on Trapshooting Team Yearbook Photo

Friday, May 5, 2017

Minnesota School District Overturns Ban on Trapshooting Team Yearbook Photo

Early last week, Central Minnesota and the pro-gun corners of the internet were abuzz about political correctness run amok at Big Lake High School in Big Lake, Minn. Citing school policy, officials in charge of the high school yearbook had refused to publish a photo of the Big Lake High Hornets trapshooting team that featured the team responsibly holding their shotguns. Thankfully, late last week common sense prevailed and Big Lake school officials altered school policy to permit publication of the photo.

On April 26, local ABC affiliate KTSP ran a story on the controversy surrounding school officials’ censorship of the trapshooting team’s official photo. Derek Birdsall, a father of one of the athletes, told KTSP that the trapshooting team’s coaches had been at odds with school officials over photos that included firearms for some period of time. Birdsall also commented on the community’s outrage over the school’s decision, stating, “There are comments from all over the community. People who don't even have kids in school, and don't have kids in the sport, upset that this isn't something that's going to be allowed.”

The absurdity of the prohibition was made clearer when the KTSP report pointed out that other area high schools have trapshooting teams and permit photos of their athletes with firearms in their yearbooks.

In the wake of the outrage, Big Lake School Board Chairman Mark Hedstrom requested that the issue of the photo be taken up at the Big Lake School Board meeting on April 27. School officials complied with the request and updated the policy to permit trapshooting team photos that include firearms.

Upon hearing news of the change, Coach Rhonda Eckerdt told the Minnesota Tribune she was pleased with the exception, but that it was a long time coming. In a press release announcing the update, school officials criticized supporters of the trapshooting team for how they went about seeking the policy change. Addressing that point, Eckerdt remarked, “I certainly didn’t expect it to get blown up like it did, but me ‘asking’ for the change the last five years wasn’t working.” 

Taking a closer look at school’s initial policy, it is unclear why a formal change needed to be made. The policy stated,

All photos, written text, and artwork must conform to school policies and are subject to approval by the yearbook advisor and/or administration. Photos and artwork that violate school policy, display firearms, weapons, drugs, alcohol, inappropriate gestures or poses, and revealing or obscene clothing may be edited or excluded without permission or notification.

The plain text of the policy appears to permit school officials a measure of discretion in determining what to exclude from the yearbook. However, Superintendent Steve Westerberg told a local media outlet prior to the change that the policy “doesn’t allow firearms or weapons to be displayed.”

In updating the policy, the school officials adopted a specific exception for the trapshooting team, which states, 

Exception given to our school-sponsored trap-shooting team which will be allowed to have team pictures in the yearbook, team poster displayed in the school, and any approved photos taken by yearbook staff. These photos would include their firearms.

The shooting sports athletes at Big Lake High weren’t the first students to experience this type of mindless discrimination, and are unlikely to be the last. In 2014, Rebekah Rorick, then a senior at Broadalbin-Perth High School in Broadalbin, N.Y., was forced to appeal to the local board of education after the yearbook committee rejected a photo where she had posed with her rifle and her dog. That same year, the school board in Broken Bow, Neb. adopted a policy of permitting tasteful senior photos with firearms following years of an unwritten policy to exclude them.

Illustrating the depths of the prejudice harbored by some school officials, in 2015, Derry Area High School in Derry, Pa. censored a photo of senior Jordyn Bihon holding a bow. A report from Pittsburgh’s WTAE cleverly pointed out that archery was part of the physical education curriculum.

This latest incident of yearbook bias ended with a positive outcome for the Big Lake High trapshooting team. However, it is concerning that ending this years-long prohibition required a public outcry and a formal rulemaking procedure. 

Of course, school officials should have some discretion to prohibit images that are lewd, violent, or depict illegal conduct from a high school yearbook; but officials should also use their common sense in permitting tasteful images of students with firearms. Unfortunately, as the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert has repeatedly made clear, expecting public school officials to exercise a measure of common sense when it comes to firearms often proves futile.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Minnesota Shooting Sports
TRENDING NOW
“She Persisted” – Gun Owner Fights Unlawful “No Return” Gun Policy

News  

Friday, July 21, 2017

“She Persisted” – Gun Owner Fights Unlawful “No Return” Gun Policy

On July 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit confirmed that law enforcement officials in New York acted unlawfully with respect to guns confiscated from a Nassau County woman in 2012.  

Supreme Court Asked to Review Maryland's Gun Ban

News  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Supreme Court Asked to Review Maryland's Gun Ban

A group of Maryland citizens, with the support of the National Rifle Association, filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court on Friday seeking to reverse a Court of Appeals ruling that stripped some of America’s most ...

The Danger Of A “Not In My Backyard” Mentality On Shooting Ranges

News  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Danger Of A “Not In My Backyard” Mentality On Shooting Ranges

Muscatine County, Iowa, is home to about 40,000 people, and like too many places around the country, gun owners there have no public range where they can practice or compete safely. That may be changing, ...

Former Bloomberg Lackey Comes Clean on True Anti-gun Agenda

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Former Bloomberg Lackey Comes Clean on True Anti-gun Agenda

Back when Mark Glaze was executive director of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and later Everytown for Gun Safety, he went to great lengths to portray his master’s anti-gun positions as moderate. Glaze used ...

The Need for National Reciprocity

News  

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Need for National Reciprocity

A report from the Crime Prevention Research Center estimates that the number of concealed carry permits issued last year was the largest increase ever – continuing a four year trend of record setting increases in ...

One More Reason Gun Owners Should Be Celebrated

News  

Second Amendment  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

One More Reason Gun Owners Should Be Celebrated

The safety record of America’s gun owners is nothing short of stunning. 

When Gun Control Fails

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Gun Control Fails

Gun control is pushed as a strategy to keep Americans safe in their homes, schools and workplaces. It is presented as the key component in safer streets, neighborhoods and families. But what happens when gun ...

California:  "Assault Weapon" Regulations Take 3: CA DOJ Resubmits Regulations

Friday, July 21, 2017

California: "Assault Weapon" Regulations Take 3: CA DOJ Resubmits Regulations

Today, July 21, the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”), without warning or any notification,  submitted another set of proposed regulations for the registration of newly classified “assault weapons” to the Office of Administrative Law.  As ...

Home Alone in Washington State

News  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Home Alone in Washington State

Back in 2013, when Washington State’s anti-gun groups rolled out Initiative 594, they promised voters this “universal background check” law would save lives by keeping “firearms out of dangerous hands” because private gun sales would ...

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

News  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Last Thursday, a federal judge in Austin, Texas, dismissed a lawsuit by several professors who sought to block the University of Texas from implementing a state law that provides for the lawful carrying of concealed ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.