A Pennsylvania high school senior and her mother want to get a picture of the teen holding her hunting bow put in the school’s yearbook, but on Dec. 8, school officials told them the picture is not allowed.
Lisa Bihon told WPXI News that the picture of her daughter, 17-year-old Jordyn Bihon, was rejected from a section of the Derry Area High School yearbook called “Ads for Grads” that runs student-submitted pictures and is paid for by parents.
The photo was taken by Jordyn’s sister, WTAE News reports, and it shows Jordyn looking at the camera through the bow’s sight. There is no arrow in the bow.
“She picked her favorite picture because she loves archery,” Lisa told WTAE. “She does it every day with her dad. She's done it since she was little. I didn't think it would be an issue at all. There's not even an arrow in the bow that she's pulling back.”
But Lisa got a call from the school.
“[The teacher said] I would have to submit a different picture, that I couldn't use it because Jordyn was holding a weapon,” she added. “I was like, ‘That's not a weapon. That's her sport. That's what she does. It's her passion.’ She said, ‘No. We can't put it in the yearbook. You'll have to pick a different picture.’”
Derry Area Superintendent Cheryl Walters said that photos of students holding weapons aren’t allowed, although no written policy was ever distributed to parents.
But Lisa said she found a photo in a 2011 yearbook of a student holding a bow.
“Now that I went back in the yearbooks and found one, I don't understand why,” she told WPXI.
That photo, though, was professionally shot and the student wasn’t aiming the bow directly at the camera, according to WTAE.
When asked about it, Walters said the positioning of the bow in the photo shouldn’t matter because photos of bows simply aren’t permitted.
She said teachers working on the yearbook are instructed to take questionable photos to the principal, who makes the final determination. The teacher and principal who made the decision in Jordyn’s situation followed that procedure and have been in their roles for a number of years.
Walters added that the school would likely examine past and current cases to make sure communication between staff and parents is better in the future.
Walters told WPXI the school is still working through Jordyn’s case but could not say confidently that the school would reverse its decision.
Lisa told WTAE she hopes school officials change their mind and let the photo in.