Nebraska High School Lets Seniors Pose With Guns (But Bans Cigarettes and Booze)

Great news for rifle-lovin' seniors: graduating students in Nebraska can pose with guns in their yearbook pictures now, thanks to a new policy unanimously approved earlier this week by Broken Bow Public Schools board members. Students can in fact pose with any prop that reflects their interest, whether it be a hunting knife or a baseball bat — any props except tobacco, drugs and alcohol, that is. Guns, though? Guns are fine.

On Monday, the Broken Bow school board voted 6-0 in favor of allowing students to submit yearbook pictures with the prop of their choosing, including firearms (but not including tobacco, drugs and alcohol). Now, as long as the senior has the right to use the photo and is wearing clothes that meet the school standards, there's nothing stopping the teen from grinning alongside his M16 in his yearbook picture. Him with a cigarette in his mouth, though? Still not okay.

Superintendent Mark Sievering told FoxNews.com on Wednesday.

If they want to submit a picture for the yearbook of them trapshooting or with a gun of some sort, that’s OK. Hunting is a very important activity in this area. We are a rural community and a number of our families participate in hunting, fishing, skeet shooting, trapshooting — it’s part of life here.
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It's not that there was a policy explicitly banning the use of guns in yearbook photos before, but concerns over gun violence had meant that schools weren't keen on letting kids pose with firearms — pretty understandably, it seems. Last year, though, one kid wanting to pose with his gun hadn't been allowed to, and so his parents raised the issue with board. Unsurprisingly, the decision was a swift OK: according to the New York Daily News, half of the school districts in Nebraska already allow yearbook photos with guns.

There are some caveats to the new policy, though: the students can't be pointing the gun at the camera, and the whole picture has to be deemed "tasteful and appropriate" by the school. Explained Sievering to Fox:

There are people with very strong feelings on either side of the issue, so I certainly wouldn’t just automatically dismiss somebody’s concerns. But we hear a lot about local control of the local culture, and this is something that’s done in a way that’s acceptable to the local culture. I recognize that some people do not consider any picture with a gun to be tasteful or appropriate, but we make decision every day in school systems about what’s tasteful and appropriate.
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Still, although Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Fox that they "take no issue with the enjoyment of hunting and recreational shooting” and that the new law simply "allows students to pose with any number of ‘artifacts’ that reflect their interests," the policy will no doubt cause controversy — not least because of rather unfortunate timing. Just this week, Seattle saw a tragic school shooting which left two people dead and several critically injured, highlighting the dark relationship schools have with guns.

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