- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 13, 2004

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) — The school board has voted to ban a photo of a student from the senior section of his high school yearbook because he is posing with a shotgun.

But Tuesday’s unanimous vote also backed a compromise: Blake Douglass can have the photo published in a “community sports” section, and a new photo — without the gun but featuring other elements of skeet and trap shooting — can appear in the seniors’ section of the Londonderry High School yearbook.

The compromise wasn’t good enough for Blake, who wanted his senior photo in traditional sportsman’s pose, wearing an oxford shirt, navy blue vest and holding the shotgun over his shoulder.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the picture,” Blake, 17 said at the hearing. “I just want my senior picture in the yearbook.”

Last month the yearbook staff, adviser, principal and superintendent chose to bar the photo from the yearbook, saying the firearm was inappropriate.

Penny Dean, Blake’s attorney, intends to file a complaint in U.S. District Court, and said the National Rifle Association will pay for the court case.

The lawyer cited a statement on student publications in the board’s policy manual: “We encourage the use of school sponsored publications to express students’ points of view. They shall be free from all policy restrictions outside the normal rules for responsible journalism.”

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