by Jim Boyle
Big Lake Schools found itself in a dust storm over a decision to not allow this year’s trap shooting team photo in the yearbook because guns were in visible the picture.
It made headlines across the state.
Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, sent a letter to Big Lake School Superintendent Steve Westerberg to encourage him to do what he could to overturn the decision.
“This is political correctness run amok,” Zerwas said of the district’s policy against displaying firearms in photos being applied to the team’s photo. “Big Lake Schools need to reverse their decision and treat all extracurricular activities equally by allowing the trap shooting team’s photo in the yearbook.
“The trap shooting team safely and properly displaying their firearms in a photo is no different than baseball players with their bats or basketball players holding a ball in their team photos.”
The Big Lake School Board reversed the decision, the district announced April 27, with a change in policy.
When District 728 officials were asked if they ever found themselves in a similar position, and the answer from interim Superintendent Bruce Watkins was no.
Trap shooting is represented in District 728 yearbooks the same way all other sports and activities. They have team photos and action shots.
The difference, Watkins said, is all of the action takes place off of school grounds and on private property and gun clubs.
“We don’t own, rent or lease space for this stuff,” Watkins said. “These students compete safely at gun clubs.”