A Minnesota school district, realizing that an outright ban on any yearbook photo of students with guns was a little over the top, has reconsidered and come up with a saner compromise. The Crookston High School yearbook decided to allow students on the trap-shooting team to submit pictures of themselves with firearms for publication in the section dedicated to the extracurricular activity.
The Jan. 24 decision overturned a Jan. 8 mandate that had said, simply, no gun photos allowed.
Principal Eric Bubna, who had pushed for the Jan. 8 ruling, asked the School Board to come to his senses after parents, students and the public raised questions about why sports team members couldn’t be photographed with guns. So he went back to the School Board and asked for a modification of the ruling.
Before Jan. 8, Bubna was allowed to grant exceptions on an individual basis, but he didn’t want the onus of being sole decision-maker, “The entire point of asking the board to approve something was so that we could be fair and we could be consistent and that I was not being put in a position that I had to be the judge and jury,” he said, looking back on why he had made his plea before the board earlier.
In response, the School Board said it recognized that putting the decision in one person’s hands could ruffle some feathers and could lead to inconsistency, but it took the coward’s way out, swinging all the way in the “no” direction.
After hearing it from the public, Bubna returned before the board and implored the members to come up with an exception that would suit almost everybody.
Interestingly, Bubna had authorized firearm photos to be published in the yearbook in earlier years of his tenure, and there was never any outrage over it. But this year, the superintendent wanted to solidify the policy. Bubna told a Forum News Service reporter that the School Board was trying to acknowledge that guns are a hot-button topic right now, but that the ban just went too far.
He called the compromise a happy medium.
“We can all agree that there are photos of students with a gun that would be perfectly fine, and there are photos that would be completely not fine, and then there’s everything in between” he said. “Most things fall in that gray area, so this way, there’s not any gray and we’re just able to be fair and consistent.”