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.