Zero tolerance for Marine photo

Shea Riecke, a freshman at McKay High School in Salem, Ore., wanted to add a photo of her brother, Marine Cpl. Bill Riecke, to a social studies bulletin board featuring McKay graduates’ career choices. But school officials balked when they realize the Marine, photographed with two friends while serving in Iraq, was holding a weapon in the photo. In a letter on the Marine Corps Moms web site, Shea and Bill’s mother writes:

Shea gave Mr. Costa (one of her teachers), a picture of her brother to hang along with other McKay graduates in his classroom. Shea is extremely proud of her brother and the profession that he has chosen and she was happy that Mr. Costa recognized the accomplishments that Bill has made. He is a US Marine and a decorated veteran of the Iraq war. The picture depicts Bill in Iraq in combat uniform with other members of his unit, and carrying a gun. School administration denied Mr. Costa’s request to hang the picture. From what I understand the picture is being scanned and the gun removed and will be returned to Mr. Costa to hang in his classroom.

The Rieckes don’t believe a photo of a Marine carrying a weapon is likely to incite violence, and don’t want the photoshopped version to represent their son’s career.

Update: When the principal said posting a photo with weapons sends the wrong “message” to students, a reporter pointed out that the school’s “Royal Scot” mascot is pictured carrying a sword.

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  1. Mrs. Riecke should tell the fine folks at McKay what they can do with their photoshop. Or Bill could say something like “Photoshop this!” Mr. Costa, show some balls and hang the picture anyway. What do they do when history teachers talk about war? Is All Quiet on the Western Front banned? Maybe they instruct the kids to take a black magic marker to words such as “bayonet,” “rifle,” “English heavies,” etc.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Cut off all federal funding to the district for year. Restore it only when the administrators pass an examination on American History.

  3. *shaking head* This is the type of thing that just makes the public scratch their collective heads and ask, “Why would a school do this??”

  4. mike from oregon says:

    Actually as a resident of this pathetic state I can tell you that this isn’t the worst of it. No, the school also won’t allow kids who are on the rifle team to have an embrodered rifle on their letterman jacket. Needless to say, the district is hoping that this thing will just go away with time. However, it doesn’t look like that will happen as the folks are up in arms (pun intended) over the district’s ruling on this nonsense.

    While I think that reading, writing and math should certainly be taught in school – there should also be a course in common sense; but it should be taught to the teachers and administrators.

  5. Late yesterday, a compromise was reached. The school will post a different photo – not one retouched and yes there is still a weapon. The ‘new’ photo features a young Iraqi with the local marine.

    Original news story

    The Statesman Journal does not appear to have the new image posted at this time.

  6. Updated Story with the comprimise photo: KATU

    Read more info about this at
    Marine Moms

  7. As a career naval officer, I learned that a core function of officers in the armed forces is “the management of violence”. The fact of the matter (and the part that folks like these educators would like to block out) is that a part of the job of those serving in the Armed Forces of the the United States is to KILL PEOPLE. This requires the use of rifles and pistols and machine guns and really, really big guns(artillery) as well as non-gun weapons such as bombs, missiles, rockets and torpedoes. To not show a working person with the tools of their trade is a serious disservice and is (as the family felt in this instance) is disrespectful to the Marine and his choice of a career. I do not think anyone is overreacting except for the educators/administrators who feel that shielding their students from realities of life is doing them a service. (And no, I never killed anyone in my 21 years of naval service. Nor would I have been happy about doing so. But it was part of my job, and I would have done it had the situation ever arisen. And since I never dropped an exercise torpedo graded as a “miss”, I know I would have done it right. BTW, I am an educator myself now.)