A Nebraska school has granted approval to students who want their senior portraits to include something else – their favorite gun. The Broken Bow school board, in central Nebraska, made the ruling on Monday after a student appealed his denial to have his picture taken holding his hunting rifle. The parent-supported vote passed unanimously, so grab your gun – it’s photo-taking time!
According to Omaha.com on Oct 23, graduating seniors “are free to pose with firearms for their school yearbook picture, as long as it’s done tastefully. School board members voted 6-0 Monday to allow such photos in the Broken Bow Public Schools after parents pressed for the change, according to Superintendent Mark Sievering.”
Sievering said that about half of Nebraska’s school districts already have the policy in place. “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 OK,” and pointed out that in Nebraska, hunting and competitive shooting are common hobbies. “The board and I felt we 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 said.
The gun allowance does carry some restrictions, and each submitted photo will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for inclusion in the yearbook. The written policy calls for all photos to be both “tasteful and appropriate,” and the pictures cannot include a shot animal that “is in obvious distress,” though game trophies and animal mounts are allowed. Students also cannot point the gun at the camera. Guns are still not allowed on school grounds; photos must be taken offsite.
School board president Ken Myers pointed out that to the students, being photographed with their gun is no different than an athlete holding a piece of sports equipment. Skeet, trap, hunting and shooting are collective activities in the Nebraska town; the annual Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt in Broken Bow draws thousands, Myers said.
“We have the 1 Box Shooting Club, a great trap range and sporting clays range,” Myers said. “A lot of youth are interested in that so that brings up firearms, I guess, a little bit more to the forefront along with the hunting.”
Matthew Haumont, a hunting education instructor and member of the school board, said: “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.”
What are your thoughts on the allowance of guns in Nebraska school pictures? Do you approve, or is the issue insensitive to the increase in school shootings across the nation?