Star Tribune

Minnesota School Agrees to Allow Guns in Trapshooting Team Yearbook Photo

In a counter punch to political correctness, a Minnesota school has decided that guns may be included in the school's trapshooting team yearbook photo.

It's a sad commentary on the state of things when a photograph of a school's trapshooting team causes some controversy because the students in the photo are holding their shotguns.

Fortunately, administrators at Minnesota's Big Lake High School decided to amend the school policy on photographs and firearms so that the team could include their photo in the yearbook with their equipment, namely their shotguns.

School District Superintendent Steve Westerberg said in a statement that administration had "accepted a request Thursday morning to change a handbook policy concerning the display of guns in yearbook photos." Initially the photo had been banned from the yearbook. 

The trapshooting team coach, Rhonda Eckerdt, learned of the ban and indicated that the team was offered the chance to have the team retake the photo for the yearbook, but without its shotguns.

But everyone associated with the team - team members, coaches and parents - argued that the guns should be viewed as essential equipment, not unlike like baseball team members holding bats or gloves in their team photo.

"I thought it was ridiculous, absolutely. I couldn't believe it," said parent Rick Anderson of the school's initial decision to ban the team photo. "I think political correctness has gone way overboard. I don't know how else to put it."

Parent Derek Birdsall said prior to the administration's revised decision to allow the photograph, "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 following video report was published by KSTP News before the administration revised their decision:

The administration responded to the team's and community's argument and amended the school policy to read as follows, with the final two sentences being recently added:

All photos, written text, and artwork must conform to school policies and are subject to approval by the yearbook adviser 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. 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.

Westerberg statement reminded people, "It is important to remember that a school district has rules and procedures that need to be followed. Once the procedure for modifying a handbook policy was followed, the district was able to amend the policy."

Westerberg continued, "The intense conversation around this topic on social media and the phone calls and emails we received, only delayed the process."

We're not sure how public input delayed the process, but we're glad that the school system made the right decision and amended the policy.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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