British Columbia

School staff clips student from every yearbook

A Vancouver Island principal is defending a decision to cut a Grade 10 student out of the high school yearbook because of what he said about her in his write-up.
Brandon Armstrong's photography and comments were cut from the Lake Trail yearbook by school staff. ((CBC))

A Vancouver Island principal is defending a decision to cut a Grade 10 student out of the high school yearbook because of what he said about her in his write-up.

Staff at Lake Trail Secondary School used scissors to chop Brandon Armstrong's picture and comments from about 150 copies of the annual, saving only a single intact copy for Brandon himself.

In his entry, Armstrong had criticized principal Lori Carpenter, saying she had spent the school's money on a fence and not on textbooks.

Armstrong says he was surprised to learn staff had taken scissors to almost every copy of the yearbook, effectively censoring his message to the class of 2010.

"It kind of blew my mind a bit," he said. "It kind of sucked. I was excited by the yearbook, and I was excited to keep it for a long time."

Carpenter said the comment slipped by in final editing and had to be removed because it was simply not true.

"Because the information was 100 per cent false and untrue and accusatory … the comment was taken out of the yearbook," she said.

"Our yearbook teacher, who has been creating incredible yearbooks for years and years, discovered this after the yearbooks were made," she said.

Carpenter said after trying to black-out and white-out the comment unsuccessfully, it was decided that cutting Armstrong's entry out of every yearbook was the only reasonable option left. Armstrong's picture also had to go because of its proximity to the text, she said. 

District money built fence

Carpenter says a fence was built, but the money and the decision came from the school district, not the school budget.

"There was a reason for building the fence," said Carpenter. "District staff made that decision, and the school funds going to it is 100 per cent false, so it does paint me as the school principal in a bad light."

Principal Lori Carpenter said the entry was cut out because Brandon Armstrong's comments were untrue. ((CBC) )

Armstrong said he felt his comments were true.

"My comment was [that] my favourite Lake Trail memory was when Ms. Carpenter spent all the school's money on a fence instead of new textbooks … I felt it was true, but funny, I guess," he said.

Carpenter said students are entitled to state their opinions, but they can't make comments that just are not true.

"Students are more than welcome to state their opinion in any regard. I don't like school. I don't like the principal. That is their opinion, and they are certainly welcome to that, but in this particular case it was just 100 per cent untrue information," she said.

Corrections

  • School staff of Lake Trail Secondary School, not its principal, cut the picture of a Grade 10 student out of the high school's yearbook. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of the story.
    Jun 17, 2010 4:00 AM PT