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Point but don't shoot: Districts allow seniors to pose with their guns in yearbook photos

I was unaware of the trend of allowing students to pose with props in their senior class photos, including firearms. Most of the yearbooks I've seen mandate the traditional headshots.

But apparently districts in rural regions of the country with hunting cultures are permitting students to pose with their hunting rifles, including Broken Bow Schools in Nebraska where the school board just voted to allow seniors to do so if the photos are tasteful.

The rationale is that athletes pose with footballs and band members pose with musical instruments. However, you could argue there's a difference in footballs and French horns -- those props have some connection with schools. Students don’t usually bring their guns to school. (A few states have high school shooting leagues but it’s not widespread.)

Teens are big hunters in the Nebraska district, and the area is a hunting mecca. The request for guns in photos came from parents.

Here is a link to a story in the Omaha World-Herald where the superintendent explains, “The board I believe felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport.”

(If you go to the World-Herald story, you will see examples of the yearbook photos of the students.)

A school board member told the paper, “For me as a sportsman, I think the policy’s important because it allows those kids who are doing those things a chance to demonstrate what they’re doing and to celebrate that. I think that’s important and fair in our country.”


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.