In an reversal of the anti-all guns sentiment permeating schools, an upstate New York school district overruled a school official who rejected a senior’s yearbook photo because it contained a gun.
In the photo, Rebekah Rorick is kneeling in a hunting pose. She is smiling and holding an upright gun in her left hand while resting her right hand on her dog.
Rorick submitted the photo for use in the 2015 Broadalbin-Perth High School yearbook. A faculty member rejected it outright because it showed a weapon.
“When I found out, I was ready to cry,” Rorick said. “I went to my next class with tears in my eyes because I didn’t think anything of it. I was raised with guns, I know how they work, and to find out my family activity was denied, it broke my heart.”
“And I was like, ‘Why?’ Rorick said. “And they are like, ‘Because there’s a gun in it,’ And I’m like, ‘But it’s a hunting rifle. I’m wearing camo. I have my dog with me. I was ready to cry. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The only thing I thought to do was address it.”
Rorick and her father Michael went to the school board to appeal the rejection. “We are in the foothills of the Adirondacks. Hunting is part of our tradition,” Michael Rorick told the school board. The Roricks also pointed out that a 2012 senior had used a yearbook photo with a gun in it.
The school board met in private, then announced that Rorick’s photo was appropriate for the school yearbook.
“There wasn’t any reason not to [allow it],” president Robert Becker said. He added that he understood the school’s initial reaction to the picture and that it was probably due to “heightened sensitivity” to firearms in schools.
“In this circumstance, it was a tenuous connection at best,” Becker said.
Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said the photo does not violate the district’s weapons policy.
“She is not holding the gun in a malicious manner,” Tomlinson said. “She is not pointing it anywhere. It’s to me, in my opinion, a nice photograph of a young lady in the Adirondack region that enjoys hunting.”