Crookston schools ban guns from yearbook pictures after 'questionable' senior photo

Published: Jan. 9, 2018 at 6:16 PM CST
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Controversy in Crookston.

A student's senior picture is being thrown out of the yearbook because he's holding a gun. Mom said it's unfair, but administrators said the new policy is meant to be more consistent.

Riley Schultz is graduating from Crookston High School.

His mom, Breanna Rasmusson, said he likes basketball, America, video games and guns.

"He's angry. He's angry," Rasmusson said.

He's angry because his senior picture was singled out. Deemed inappropriate.

"His exact words were, 'It's my senior year, it's my picture, they told me to pick one. I picked one,'" Rasmusson recalled her son said to her.

The picture is of Schultz sitting on his truck with his rifle he painted and modified by hand. After he submitted the photo mom got call from Crookston Principal Eric Bubna.

"When his first sentence to me on the phone call is, 'We have a 18-year-old boy sitting on a black truck with an assault rifle.' He's like, 'I don't think I can handle this one,'" Rasmusson said.

"You can have a senior photo that has a gun in it, that most people would find perfectly appropriate," Bubna said. "And you can have a senior photo with a gun it that most people would find extremely inappropriate. And then there's everything in-between."

Previously, Bubna has been the gatekeeper of what's allowed in the yearbook.

"This year there was a photo, it wasn't overtly terrible, but it was a little more questionable maybe," Bubna said.

He doesn't want the gatekeeper duty anymore. He made the suggestion to the school board to not allow guns in senior pictures.

"I felt like we needed to be consistent, and just have a policy so that all kids are being treated fairly and that it's not just up to me," Bubna said.

The school board voted to not allow guns in the yearbook. Rasmusson takes issue with that decision.

"I think it's a beautiful picture. Beautiful girl, beautiful gun," Rasmusson said as she holds up a senior picture from last year. It's of a blonde girl holding a hunting rifle. She said it's no different than the picture of her son.

"If you're going to veto one child. You better veto them all. If you're going to veto one gun, veto them all," Rasmusson said.

That's what they did. The school board even voted to ban pictures of guns for the trap shooting team.

"There's been a real push-back on the ban of the trap team and some people have some questions as to why that is," Bubna said.

The next school board meeting there's discussion time slated to review the gun yearbook policy. Rasmusson said the next school board meeting is after the deadline to submit senior pictures.

"I think it's super sneaky. Because, you know what, I guarantee at this next meeting trap shooters are going to be allowed to have their guns," Rasmusson said. "You're worried about offending people, or somebody is going to get upset, or somebody is going to hurt? You're actually hurting more people that care about America and their rights to guns and their amendments. This gun thing has escalated so much."

According to Bubna, the school board will reassess the decision to allow the trap team to have guns in their yearbook pictures, but is comfortable banning guns in senior pictures.

Rasmusson said her son is considering joining the National Guard after he graduates.