A high school trap shooting team's photo was almost not included in the school's yearbook because it showed the team members holding guns.
On April 26, Head Coach Rhonda Eckerdt of Big Lake High School in Minneapolis received an email from the school's athletic director, according to WCCO. The athletic director informed Eckerdt that the photo -- which shows team members posing with their guns -- was against a school policy which prohibited firearms from appearing in yearbook photos.
The deadline to submit photos to the yearbook was May 1 -- less than a week away. The athletic director offered Eckerdt several alternatives in order to have a picture included by the deadline.
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One option was to have a new picture taken of the team without their guns. He also said that the team could submit a proposal outlining reasons why the original picture should be allowed in the yearbook. In addition, the athletic director offered to meet with Eckerdt the following day to discuss other options.
According to KMSP, this was the first year that all team members were included in the yearbook photo. The knowledge that their original photo might not be included in the yearbook seemed to be concerning for those associated with the team.
"This is my final year, I’m a senior this year," said team member Wyatt Stone, according to WCCO. "I’ll be graduating the high school. So it’ll be frustrating to not see this picture in my final yearbook."
Parents also seemed to be upset by the news.
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"I thought it was ridiculous, absolutely. I couldn’t believe it," said Rick Anderson, a parent of one of the members of the team, reports WCCO. "I think political correctness has gone way overboard. I don’t know how else to put it. Just because there’s a gun involved doesn’t make it a dangerous sport and they’re not criminals."
Several other parents, coaches, and players also viewed the policy as unfair. They said that posing with guns -- which are used to perform the sport -- in the photo is no different from baseball players posing for a photo while holding bats.
As of April 26, several parents were planning on attending a school board meeting the following night to address the issue. However, on the morning of April 27, Superintendent Steve Westerberg issued a statement regarding the photo's appearance in the yearbook.
Westerberg said that district administration had "accepted a request ... to change a handbook policy concerning the display of guns in yearbook photos," according to Star Tribune.
The new policy states that firearms are not allowed to be shown in yearbook photos. However, it also states that an exception has been made for "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."