Dad of gun-toting N.D. student calls for principal’s firing over yearbook photo ban

Published 10:25 am Friday, December 11, 2015

By Colleen Kelly

The father of a gun-toting North Dakota student is calling for a school principal to be fired after the student’s senior photo was banned from publication in the yearbook.

In the photo, Josh Renville, a senior at Fargo North High school, is pictured holding “his favorite” rifle and wearing a shirt emblazoned with the stars and stripes.

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His father, Charlie, who called for the firing in a Tuesday post on Facebook, wrote that the image was rejected because “in their words, it promotes violence and breaks federal and state law.” He goes on to question how it is any different than pictures of soldiers during war or images of students who participate in trap or skeet teams.

The Renvilles submitted the photo for the school yearbook, but it was rejected by the high school.

Fargo North principal Andy Dahlen said the school is just following policy.

“Whether or not I agree or disagree with it is really immaterial,” Dahlen said in comments to WDAY-TV.

In explaining the decision, Dahlen cited three different provisions to the Fargo Forum: one that bans the carrying of weapons on school property; another prohibits publishing materials in school-sponsored media “that violates federal or state law, promotes violence or terrorism or other illegal activity” and the final policy bans clothing that advertises or promotes weapons.

Although Dahlen acknoledged that none of those rules specifically addresses photos of weapons in senior photos, he told the Forum, “it’s the combination of those three policies that we’ve interpreted to prevent it.”

Charles Renville is unbowed. After talking to Dahlen about the ban, he was unsatisfied and took to Facebook to air his feelings, saying Dahlen is “morally bankrupt” and a “far left progressive” who has singled out the Renville family over the years for “our traditional conservative values.”

The Fargo dad has been a member of the Air National Guard for 30 years, and his son plans to enlist at the end of the month.

Renville, in the Facebook post, wrote that when he looks at the photo, he sees “a kid that loves his nation, loves free speech” and loves the Second Amendment. “So begins the fight for freedom.”

As of Thursday morning, Renville’s post, which included the photo of Josh, had been shared more than 1,300 times on the social network.

—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.