WAVERLY – The Waverly High School yearbook was the center of attention last week, as administrators retracted the 2018 yearbooks in response to a page about a teacher.
The uproar started over a page dedicated to teacher Erin Konecky. Konecky won 2019 Nebraska Mother of the Year from American Mothers.
Konecky’s youngest son, Gram, died shortly after birth and was the impetus for Konecky getting involved in helping create and fund a project to help families grieving from infant or pregnancy loss.
On the yearbook page in question, there is a picture of Konecky with her family, after Gram’s birth, and a separate picture of Gram’s foot.
Waverly District 145 administrators were worried that the page resembled a memorial. Memorials are not allowed according to school district policy.
“The purpose of the policy is to ensure that school district resources are used appropriately. Also, professional literature indicates that school memorials can cause problems for individuals who have suffered similar losses,” Superintendent Cory Worrell said.
Worrell said that the district has asked that a few pictures be changed.
He said the pictures “combined with the accompanying story, could be viewed as a memorial.”
Wording in a caption, which Worrell calls inappropriate language, is also to be changed.
Some student press law groups, like the Student Press Law Center, have said that the reprint may be an infringement on the First Amendment rights of students.
Worrell said that he has not received any direct feedback from any student press law groups.
According to Worrell, only one page will be reprinted for the yearbook and he is not sure of cost. District 145 will cover the costs and Worrell said he hopes to keep costs as minimal as possible.