Look closely at high school yearbooks and you’ll find inside jokes and pop culture references only the kids understand.
Look closely at the Lake City High School yearbook in Coeur d’Alene and you’ll find all that – plus references to drinking, sex and illicit substances, including Ecstasy.
The psychedelic-themed yearbook hit the hallways last week, prompting a few students to demand their money back after finding sexual innuendo and subtle – and not so subtle – references to drug culture.
“I know teenagers are just renowned for pushing limits,” said Hazel Bauman, Coeur d’Alene School District superintendent. “But there seems to be more single issues scattered through this yearbook than one would hope in that kind of project.”
The $40 hardcover book resembles a Jimi Hendrix album cover, bearing the title “The Lake City Experience” and featuring tie-dye and funky lettering on its nearly 200 pages. The introduction page to the junior class section is titled “Junior Haze all in my brain,” a reference to Hendrix’s hit song “Purple Haze.”
A few parents and students have complained about the cover and theme, but Bauman said it doesn’t appear students intended the entire book to allude to drug use.
An apparent reference to being high on Ecstasy and the quotes from students touting marijuana obviously do. So far, four or five students have returned the book for full refunds, said Lake City Principal John Brumley.
“Unfortunately these are very unique pieces of memorabilia,” Brumley said. “There’s no do-over on it.”
Students James Thomes and Jeremy Guzman pointed out several pictures and quotes in the book that they said have kids talking. One shows a swim team member holding a stuffed animal’s leg in a sexually suggestive manner. A quote near the end of the book features the yearbook editor saying, “Puff puff pass … Oops did I just say that in the yearbook?”
A photo of a group of friends has “rolling with the homies” written across it, with “I need a glass of water” above. Ecstasy users often say they are “rolling” when high on the drug, which causes dehydration.
Coupled with an onslaught of spelling errors, photos whose subjects are misidentified and excessive photos of staff members and their friends, the book has upset quite a few students, Guzman said.
Brumley wouldn’t comment on rumors that a yearbook staffer had switched out several pages at the last minute, but he said the objectionable parts appear to be “some fairly deliberate issues on the part of at least one student.”
“I think (adviser Carol MacPhee) got a little too trusting and a couple things went in that shouldn’t,” he said, adding that she’ll keep a closer eye on the staff next year.
Thomes, a senior-to-be, will edit the yearbook next year with a couple of other students. He’s already studying this year’s book.
“It’s gonna be an example of what not to do,” he said.