Bonny Eagle High School has refused to publish a senior yearbook photo because it shows the student holding a shotgun.
“So here’s what I wanted to have as my senior picture but was informed, ‘No you can’t put something like that in the yearbook,’ ” Wade Gelinas wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday that featured the rejected portrait.
Gelinas said he would submit an alternate photo, without his gun, to the yearbook.
But he also posted the original photo on social media, where it was shared more than 200 times as of Thursday afternoon.
The photo shows him standing near trees and holding the gun at his hip, its barrel pointed down and away from the camera.
“So you’re telling me that a football player can have theirs with a football, a lacrosse player can have theirs with their stick, and a guy or girl can dress up like one or the other but a hunter can’t have theirs with their gun! Like, Comment, or Share if you agree that this is an infringement of my rights,” Gelinas wrote in his Facebook post.
Principal Lori Napolitano said Bonny Eagle’s code of conduct prohibits students from bringing weapons of any kind to school and the dress code also prohibits clothing with images of guns or other weapons on them.
Napolitano said those policies extend to photos in the yearbook and other school publications. The yearbook is the product of an annual course at Bonny Eagle and therefore a part of the school’s curriculum, she said.
Napolitano said she spoke with Gelinas this week about the rules, and she understands that he is disappointed, but she doesn’t want the school making judgments about which weapons promote violence.
“It creates a disruption, and it doesn’t make everybody feel safe,” the principal said.
Photographer Kelly Roy, whose business is based in Arundel, said she took the senior portraits for Gelinas. She has been a photographer for 11 years and scheduled more than 60 senior portrait sessions this year.
Roy said many kids ask to be photographed with sports equipment or uniforms.
Once, a student posed with a bow, although Roy said the student didn’t submit the photo for his school’s yearbook and kept it only for personal use.
Gelinas also wasn’t the first subject to ask Roy for a picture with a hunting gun, but it is not common, she said.
“It’s whatever they’re passionate about,” Roy said. “It’s his session, not mine.”
In his interview with WCSH, Gelinas talked about his love of hunting.
“It’s just my sport. It’s just what I do. I don’t play football. I don’t play basketball. I just hunt,” Gelinas told the TV station.
Roy did warn Gelinas and his mother that the school might not accept a photo with a gun.
“I understand Wade’s point of view,” Roy said.
“That kid was extremely respectful of the gun, how he handled them, how he carried himself when he was holding them. He was way more mature than a lot of kids are at his age, so I feel for him. But I completely understand where the school is coming from.”
Wade Gelinas hoped the Bonny Eagle High School yearbook would use a photo in which he was holding his shotgun. Gelinas says his sport is hunting.