The Coeur d’Alene School District apologized to parents after students brought home mystery-themed yearbooks Friday that asked kids what crimes they would commit and what weapon they would use.
The students’ answers, also published in the Canfield Middle School’s yearbook, included “revenge murder,” bank robbery and stealing.
In his message to families, Principal Nick Lilyquist said the references to criminal activity were “in poor taste.”
Canfield Middle School’s attempt at that yearbook theme included printed student responses to questions like “What crime would you commit and what weapon would you use?” “Why would you get arrested?” and “If you were to go to jail, what would you be going for?”
“The intent was to align with the mystery theme,” Lilyquist said. “Unfortunately, some of the pages reference violence, which we absolutely do not condone in our building and district.
“On behalf of Canfield Middle School, I offer my apology for anyone that is offended by any content in the yearbook,” the statement continued. “Again, please know there was absolutely no intent to truly condone violent behavior; rather, they were going with the mystery theme.”
The pages in question include ones with headers such as “6th grade witnesses,” “7th grade victims” and “8th grade suspects.”
One student responded they would “commit murder using a World War Two gun.” Others said they would rob a bank or commit armed robbery and murder.
Coeur d’Alene Public Schools is offering refunds for those who paid for the book. The district plans to contact the publisher about republishing the yearbook without the material in question.
The yearbook is created by a student class with a faculty adviser, district spokesman Scott Maben said.
This year’s theme was picked in September. The pages were then submitted to the publisher as they were completed during the year, with everything due before spring break at the end of March, Maben said.
The district declined to comment on whether anyone on the staff would face discipline, citing employee confidentiality laws.
Coeur d’Alene Public Schools officials said they will “review the procedures schools follow to approve yearbook content prior to publication.”
Current district policy states student publications must be reviewed and approved by the principal prior to publication. The principal has the authority to determine the appropriateness of any particular item for publication in accordance to the policy, which also outlines types of material considered unsuitable. The list includes advocating the breaking of any law.
The policy also states school-sponsored student publications cannot include text that is socially inappropriate or conflicting “with the basic educational material of the school.”
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