Mississippi parents angry after school yearbook prodded students to mock classmates

Published 7:03 am Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Parents in a Mississippi Gulf Coast community are outraged after they say a middle school yearbook was turned into a “burn book” where students were invited to mock and criticize their classmates.

The Sun Herald reports the yearbook for Hancock Middle School’s 1,100 students contained prompts like, “Which friend would you not invite on spring break?” and “I would like to spike a volleyball at…”

Middle schoolers answered with statements like, “(Name) because he walks weird” and “(Name) would not be welcome to come with me on a trip because she isn’t fun to be around.”
Parents and alumni criticized the school on Facebook for turning the yearbook into a “burn book.” A post with screenshots from the yearbook had been shared hundreds of times Monday, according to the Herald.

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In response, district officials said in a statement that school leadership is aware of the “unfortunate fact” that the school yearbook contains “sensitive and inappropriate comments.” They said they’ve taken measures to ensure “this never happens again,” but did not provide details on what those measures were.

“The yearbook is student led, student published and has, in the past, been an award winning yearbook,” the statement reads. “The yearbook is, however, sponsor and administrator supervised; this yearbook should not have included the sensitive and inappropriate comments.”

Questions posed in the yearbook garnered an array of responses.

One prompt asked, “Have you ever avoided a friend?” One student responded, “Yes, (name), because he’s usually a brat in general.”

Some students didn’t wish to degrade their peers.

In response to the question, “Have you ever avoided a friend?” one person said, “No I have never avoided a friend. That’s just mean.”