Guilderland senior ad picture sparks controversy

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A picture appearing in the senior ad section of the Guilderland High School yearbook has sparked controversy.

The senior ads section of many high school yearbooks include old pictures, quotes, memories, and messages that are typically purchased by family members.

In the 2015 Guilderland High School yearbook, one particular picture shows a senior at a younger age holding a dead giraffe while he has a weapon strapped round him. The photo has upset many students and parents.

Guilderland Central School District Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles said there are policies in place for all submissions and the published picture was on oversight.

“The bottom line is we have no interest or intent to offend anyone,” she said. “The yearbook isn’t a vehicle for controversy; it’s a vehicle for capturing memories. So we deeply regret that there are folks out there who are offended by this.”

Wiles said new levels of policies and procedures will be put in place going forward to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.

“We can learn a lesson from it,” she said. “It’s not a line; it’s a judgment. I think the lesson that we learned here is that before we make decisions on what we publish, we make sure that we’re making good judgments.”

And it’s not just the dead giraffe that has people upset.

“I don’t believe that the folks who reviewed the picture saw the weapon, so had they seen it, I think we would not be having this conversation today,” Wiles said. “But they didn’t see it at the time. We are very sorry that people feel badly about this. I totally understand that.”

The Humane Society of the United States said the following in a statement:

“Traveling halfway around the world to shoot some of the world’s most magnificent, and exotic animals is shameful. Trophy hunting increases threats to the survival of these species. We hope Guilderland High School administrators take this opportunity to educate students on the importance of conserving and respecting African wildlife.”

NEWS10 ABC is not identifying the student. We have reached out to the family for comment but have not heard back.

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