National News

Parents outraged over school yearbook that lists student 'Most likely to bomb the U.S.'

Posted May 15, 2018 10:45 a.m. EDT

— School yearbooks often list students voted most likely to succeed, best athlete or most popular. But the 2017-2018 yearbook from Sonoran Science Academy in Peoria just identified a student as most likely to become a terrorist.

Bree Brown is one of several parents who couldn't believe what was in the yearbook -- an eighth-grader voted "Most likely to bomb the U.S."

"The moment I opened it up, my heart sank," said Brown. "I thought how did this get past the administration? I can't fathom having a child labeled, basically a terrorist of our country. It's horrible."

The yearbook was sent home with students a few days ago and it didn't take long for the controversy to blow up.

Brown spotted a number of questionable comments in the K-8 charter school's annual.

One girl was voted most likely to steal gang people's food.

Another student's favorite memory was when someone got stabbed with a pencil.

But nothing compared to the outrage over the boy most likely to become a terrorist.

"There are children that (sic) are in charge of the yearbook, overseen by a teacher, so if it wasn't caught by a teacher that's (sic) in charge of the club, why wasn't it caught by someone higher up in the administration?" Brown asked. "That's something I really would like to know."

Sonoran Science Academy spokesman Matt Benson said there was never any class vote on best and worst categories.

The eighth-graders each filled out a yearbook form and were allowed to write any statements they wanted to place next to their picture, said Benson.

This eighth-grader apparently thought it would be funny if he said he was most likely to bomb the U.S.

"As a parent, I would like answers," said Brown. "I would like to see steps they'll take in future to prevent this from happening again."

Sonoran Science Academy principal Deb Hofmeier released this statement:

"On Friday night, I became aware of an inappropriate entry included with the 2017-18 yearbook in which a student self-designated they were 'Voted Most Likely to Bomb the U.S.' To be clear, there was no class vote. Each student self-selected a superlative for himself or herself.

"After speaking with the student and the student's parents, it is apparent the comment was a misguided attempt at humor. There was absolutely no malicious intent on the part of the student.

"Regardless, our entire administrative team takes this seriously. The comment should have been caught and removed during the editing process before the yearbook was published.

"Our school is investigating how this incident occurred, and has already taken disciplinary action against the faculty adviser in charge of the yearbook.

"Going forward, we will be instituting a more stringent review process to ensure this cannot happen again.

"In the meantime, we have reached out to each of our Sonoran Science Academy-Peoria families to express our deep regret regarding this incident. We are also collecting yearbooks from students who had already received them, and will have a new, edited batch printed and distributed at no additional charge to families.

"On behalf of Sonoran Science Academy-Peoria, I apologize for any inconvenience and for the larger situation, which does not accurately reflect our students, school mission or the values we share with our families and community."