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11-19-02: Parkway school yearbook shocks parent
The Daily Standard
    ROCKFORD - The 2001-2002 Parkway Local Schools yearbook is a bit too racy for some people.
    District resident Mitch Flaugher complained to board members at their Monday meeting that the book contains a number of sexually suggestive and inappropriate words and pictures. The book is especially objectionable, Flaugher said, because it is intended for all students, preschoolers through high school seniors. Flaugher said he would not allow his own children, ages 4 and 9, to look at the book.
    "Upon my review, I was shocked to find that this yearbook contained a strong, undeniable sexual theme as well as several inappropriate photographs and writings," Flaugher said in a written statement he read to the board.
    Flaugher was backed by more than a dozen other residents, although he was the only to address the board.
    Flaugher documented 10 instances in the book, called "Almega Teen Magazine," that he said prove his contention. He called on school officials to offer refunds to anyone who wants their money back and for an admission of "assumed responsibility" by the board. Flaugher also said he wants a "clean" yearbook published and an investigation launched to develop long-term plans for reviewing yearbook content.
    Board members instead told Flaugher to set up a meeting with yearbook adviser Ed Kuhn and Principal Bill Steinbrunner. If Flaugher still is not satisfied after that meeting, he could submit a written complaint to the board and an independent committee would be set up to investigate the claims.
    Superintendent Doug Karst said that process follows the terms of an agreement with the teachers union.
    "It's a complaint against a faculty member," Karst said. "I think this is the best process we have in place."
    Flaugher complained that Monday was the first he had heard of the complaint process, even though he first contacted school officials with his concerns about three weeks ago.
    Among the items picked out by Flaugher as inappropriate for the yearbook are a picture of a boy wearing no shirt and a bra. Another photo shows three boys wearing jock straps outside their pants. Another close-up photo shows a boy wearing either underwear or a jock strap with a portion of his buttocks visible.
    A caption under a picture of girls mugging for the camera, says that the girls are "taking time out of their pants-dropping schedule." A picture showing only a girl's bare legs says underneath, "One time I did the announcements without pants on!" On the same page, a similar picture showing only a girl's hand on a boy's leg says underneath, "I loved when (name) rubbed my leg during announcements."
    The headings to sections for different sports also were singled out by Flaugher as sexually suggestive. The titles include "Leather and Laces" (football), "Flashem'" (football cheerleading), "Shake those Pom-Poms" (basketball cheerleading), "Get to Third Base" (baseball), "Excessive Panting?" (track), and "Down and Dirty" (powder puff football.)
    A collage of pep band photos included a number of captions Flaugher found objectionable. Among them were "He'll toot your horn," "The loudest threesome," "Our bones are bigger than your bones," "Get down and lick it," "Stay off your back" and "Show some skin."
    Flaugher also took issue with use of the words "skank" and "sucks."
    A more thorough read of the yearbook turned up some instances not included in Flaugher's letter.
    For example, a piece on embarrassing moments includes a girl's firsthand account of trouble with her bikini during a summer swimming trip. After jumping off a diving board, the girl described her situation as having "one of the twins hanging out." Another girl recounts an embarrassing moment that involved "a huge fart."
    Board members only briefly discussed Flaugher's concerns. Board member Betty DuBry questioned how much it would cost to reproduce a new yearbook and whether doing so would even be feasible. Board member Jeff Long seemed willing to discuss a process to review and control yearbook content in the future.
    In other business Monday, board members:
    € Passed a resolution commending the efforts of the United for Parkway's Kids committee that worked toward passage of a school levy.
    € Granted a leave of absence to teacher Tara Jones for the remainder of the first semester and hired long-term substitute Robert Ransbottom to replace her.
    € Increased the pay rate for a shuttle bus route that goes to St. Henry to $28 daily.
    € Agreed to contract with the Mercer County Health Department for $1,809 for screening services.
    € Renewed the district's property insurance with Indian Insurance through Bruns, Gant & Toms Inc., Celina, for $23,465.
    € Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Eva Austin Trust and set up the Eva Austin Scholarship Fund. Terms for scholarship awards are yet to be decided.
    € Hired Michael Schumm as high school girls basketball varsity assistant coach.
    € Accepted Steve Snyder as a volunteer assistant coach for the high school girls basketball program.


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