RMS Yearbook ‘5 worst people’ list rouses ire
Story date: May 29, 2011
Controversial item lumps George W. Bush, Dick Cheney with murderers
A list included in the Russellville Middle School yearbook detailing the “Top 5 worst people of all time” that identifies former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as Nos. 4 and 5 – after Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson – is raising eyebrows and ire.
The yearbook, produced by students under the supervision of a faculty advisor, were distributed to the student body Friday, with the text in question covered by a sticker.
School board member Chris Cloud said the stickers, however, come off easily, and is less than pleased with the solution arrived at after he and school administrators spoke about the problem last week, he said. He learned of the list in the yearbook Wednesday.
“I was assured that we would speak to this problem with some tape that would not be able to be moved off,” he said Saturday, referring to the sticker solution as “a Band-Aid fix to a major problem.”
Superintendent Randall Williams said when reached by cell phone later in the day that the issue had been addressed by the placement of the stickers in the yearbooks distributed to sixth- and seventh-grade students, and added the district had caught the issue in time.
He declined comment on the matter of who was responsible for the content, and whether disciplinary action might be taken against that person or persons.
“We’re going to review our process for editing the yearbook before it goes out and that’ll be about it,” he said.
Cloud took a firmer stance, saying he agreed to the sticker fix only with the understanding it could not be removed and the content viewed.
“I can assure you, as a board member, that this will never, ever happen again,” he said, adding he was “embarrassed” by the content, and reiterating the need for additional precautionary measures that would prevent the inclusion of such material.
“That’s not who we are, what we are,” he said. “That’s totally against the mission statement of who we are. ... You don’t compare any human being to those people.
“It could have been anybody — Democrat, Republican, Independent, anybody – it’s wrong.”
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