School administrators barred a 17-year-old Pennsylvania high school senior from posting a picture holding a compound bow in her yearbook because officials ruled she’s holding a weapon.
Jordyn Bihon’s photo submission focuses on her holding a bow with no arrow. The camera is set in front of her, and her face is visible through the sight on the bow.
It was for the “Ads for Grads” classified section of the Derry High yearbook, in Derry, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Lisa Bihon, told WTAE that Jordyn has loved hunting and archery since she was young.
“She picked her favorite picture because she loves archery. She does it every day with her dad. She’s done it since she was little,” Lisa Bihon said. “I didn’t think it would be an issue at all. There’s not even an arrow in the bow that she’s pulling back.”
Lisa Bihon said she was informed Tuesday by the teacher that oversees the Ads for Grads section of the decision.
The teacher said “I would have to submit a different picture, that I couldn’t use it because Jordyn was holding a weapon,” Lisa Bihon said. “I was like, ‘That’s not a weapon. That’s her sport. That’s what she does. It’s her passion.’ She said, ‘No. We can’t put that in the yearbook. You’ll have to pick a different picture.’ ”
Derry Area Superintendent Cheryl Walters added that photos of students holding weapons are not allowed, adding there is a no-written policy sent to parents outlining which photos are acceptable and which are not.
Lisa Bihon argued 2011’s classified section included another girl holding a bow, but this picture didn’t include the bow being pointed at the camera and was taken professionally — Jordyn Bihon’s was taken by her sister.
“I think it’s a sign of the times, and that’s sad,” Lisa Bihon said. “It’s very sad.”
The process of making the ruling, Walters said, starts with teachers who work on the yearbook taking any questionable photos to the high school principal, who determines if the photo should be submitted.
Walters said school officials will re-examine communication sent to parents involving admissible photos, consult with the solicitor on appropriate actions to take next in the case and re-examine past and present actions.
Coincidentally, though Derry High does not have an archery team — students are taught archery in gym class. Walters said the context is different in the two instances between the photo and class curriculum.
Lisa Bihon’s Facebook post on the school’s decision has been picked up by several archery websites and is gaining more attention. She said she still hopes school officials will change their ruling.