The school board in Broken Bow, Neb. adopted a new policy on Monday that allows seniors at Broken Bow High School to pose with guns for their yearbook portraits.
The decision to allow seniors to pose with firearms — just like they would with basketballs, or pompoms, or tubas or whatever — after school officials denied a student’s submission of such a photo for last year’s yearbook.
The new policy insists that any shooter snapshots for the yearbook must be classy.
“There was a sense that to allow a student to have a firearm, as long as it was done in a tasteful manner in terms of a hunting or sporting-type picture, that that might be okay,” school district superintendent Mark Sievering said, according to Nebraska ABC affiliate KHGI.
The school board voted unanimously for the new policy in response to a group of local parents who had pressed for the change.
Sievering noted that hunting and shooting for sport are popular pastimes in the rural town of about 3,500 almost smack in the center of Nebraska.
The superintendent added that the annual Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt in Broken Bow brings in hunters from around the country. Past celebrity shooters at the event have included Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Neil Armstrong, Tom Osborne and Slim Pickens.
“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,” Sievering told the Omaha World-Herald.
School district officials called around to other school districts in Nebraska districts and discovered, lo and behold, that roughly half of those districts have no problem with students posing with guns in yearbook photos.
Sievering said administrators had rejected last year’s student request to have a senior portrait with a gun because they were concerned about school shootings.
School board member Matthew Haumont said school officials will now consider each portraits containing guns on its own merits.
“But I think that goes with any photo, whether it’s a scantily clad girl or something like that,” he told the World Herald.
“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,” Haumont added.