Comment about principal gets student cut out of yearbooks

Particularly troubling for me about this situation are the comments made by Sherry Elwood SD71 Superintendent where she stated: “School officials obviously didn’t think it very funny. Assistant superintendent Sherry Elwood said it was absolutely untrue — the principal had no part in the decision to install a fence, she said. Elwood said the comment was removed both because it was untrue and because it targeted a specific staff member. She said she believes removing the student’s profile with scissors was a thoughtful, measured decision. “I don’t believe that’s censorship,” she said. “That’s about you being responsible for what you put in print under your name as being true. That’s really what it’s about.” I’m not sure what kind of lesson this is teaching the students. Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

 

UPDATE: A Vancouver Island board of education has decided to reprint a middle-school’s yearbooks after a teacher took scissors to 150 copies last week and clipped out the photo of a Grade 10 student because of comments he made about the school principal.

Comox Valley board chair Susan Barr told the Vancouver Sun the decision to reprint the yearbook was made after a public outcry that included hate mail sent to principal Lori Carpenter, even though she had not been involved in the decision to remove Brandon Armstrong’s picture.

Barr said she does not know what it will cost to reprint the yearbook, but there will be no charge for students.
“It is a cost the district will gladly bear,” she said. “We want to put things right.”

– – –

COURTENAY, B.C. — A Vancouver Island student has literally been cut out of his school’s yearbook, after officials took offence to a comment he made about his principal.

The yearbook bio of Lake Trail Secondary School student Brandon Armstrong contained a “hurtful and untrue” comment, officials said.

So, scissors were taken to 299 of the 300 yearbooks produced for the school this year to remove the Grade 10 student’s photo.
Just one yearbook has Armstrong’s picture: his own. Beneath it is the comment that caused the kafuffle: his favourite Lake Trail Memory was “when Mrs. Carpenter spent all our money on a new fence instead of new textbooks.”

Lori Carpenter is the school’s principal.

Armstrong said it “blew my mind” when he found out he’d been snipped.

“It kind of sucked,” he said. “I was excited for the yearbook and I’m excited to keep it for a long time.”

He said he included that comment as his favourite memory both because he thought it was true and also because he thought it was “kind of funny.”

School officials obviously didn’t think it very funny. Assistant superintendent Sherry Elwood said it was absolutely untrue — the principal had no part in the decision to install a fence, she said.

Elwood said the comment was removed both because it was untrue and because it targeted a specific staff member.

She said she believes removing the student’s profile with scissors was a thoughtful, measured decision.

“I don’t believe that’s censorship,” she said. “That’s about you being responsible for what you put in print under your name as being true. That’s really what it’s about.”

But Armstrong’s mother, Sherri Kennedy, questioned why they had to cut her son’s entire picture out rather than just taking the scissors to the comment.

“It’s not just that one line that’s cut out,” she said. “They could have at least left the picture in.”

The school included an insert in the yearbook to explain the gaping hole.

It states that “one student made a comment in his bio that was both hurtful to another person and which was not based on truth.” In bold, it states: “I will not allow anything to be published that is hurtful and untrue.”

“It makes it look like he said some kind of swearing or something really bad about another person, bad enough to take out his whole profile, including his picture,” said Kennedy.

“Parents would look at it and think this child had done something worse than what he actually did.”

Kennedy said she’d like to see all of the yearbooks reprinted, but was told by school officials that would not happen because it would cost more than $3,000 and the money is not available.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s