On October 25th, Ms. Mayer, the yearbook advisor, sent an email to the class of 2020. She explained that there will be no senior quotes in this year’s yearbook, due to the fact that screening the quotes was “too time consuming” and the yearbook could not “ensure that all inappropriate statements would be noticed.”
This decision was not sudden or unforeseen–at a recent class meeting, the seniors had been warned as a result of many recently-submitted quotes having been deemed inappropriate. Unless seniors stopped submitting inappropriate quotes, the chance to have a short quote under each senior’s picture would be removed in the 2020 yearbook–The Kamiaken.
Ms. Mayer declined an interview.
This issue soon became contentious. Many seniors were angry at this decision, some believing the complete removal of senior quotes to be a poor decision. One senior claimed that it was “unfair to punish the senior class based on inappropriate behavior from [their] peers.” Another student expressed a similar opinion, noting how it is disappointing that “because of a few people’s actions, nobody else will be able to have senior quotes.”
The popular Instagram Account “pullmanmemes” took alternative action in reaction to the decision. The account allowed seniors to submit a senior photo and quote, which would then be posted on a highlight story.
Abigail Slaughter, member of the yearbook staff, believes that it was necessary from the yearbook’s point of view. “There are so many things that people that aren’t in yearbook don’t get to see…inappropriate quotes and stuff.”
Claire Cochran, Student Ambassador, discussed the issue with Superintendent Maxwell. “When I brought up the issue with him, I was not given a clear answer.” Claire also believes that the email from Ms. Mayer was poorly worded. “ [Principal] [Mr.] Pollestad told me that people can sue the school for censoring…senior quotes, which is a much better argument than it ‘being too time consuming.’ They have every week for five months; I’m sure they have the time to look at every quote.”
Lilienne Shore Kilgore-Brown, who worked on the 2018 yearbook and was the primary editor for senior quotes on the staff, believes that a different approach would have been more appropriate. “I probably saw every [quote] at least ten times,” she said. If a quote had any sort of error or was inappropriate, she would then contact the student individually in order for them to change it. She admits that this process was extremely time consuming and that a better method would be to not give any senior quotes to those who use an inappropriate quote for their first submission. “I believe if it was doable my sophomore year,” she states, “it should be doable this year with this simpler way.”
Additionally, several underclassmen were disappointed in this decision; they were looking forward to creating their own quote in the future. Fortunately, Principal Pollestad has stated that the decision of whether or not to include senior quotes will be determined by the yearbook class on a year-to-year basis. This means that the decision made for the class of 2020 does not necessarily apply for the next graduating classes. Mr. Pollestad also emphasized that since 2005, only five yearbooks have had senior quotes, making senior quotes a fairly new tradition.
Although not much can be done about senior quotes for the class of 2020, the upcoming classes may still have the opportunity to have a senior quote.