This was sent to me from Penny Dean, NRA Attorney and Counselor at law.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please give this to any newspaper, reporter, radio, person, civil rights advocate, and listserve you can! Shout it from the mountaintops! Call and write the individuals listed below and DEMAND that they
"PUBLISH THE PICTURE"
The client has granted permission to publicize his case and asks for assistance. I am writing to all of the pro gun people and others who care about free speech, and abhor censorship in any form I know to ask for assistance for Blake Douglass, a senior at Londonderry High School, Londonderry, New Hampshire . What started out as a simple expression of a student's hobby has become a unnecessary, unfair battle. Blake Douglass, his mother and father are members of Pelham Fish & Game Club, Inc.(*past three years or so). Blake is 17, clean cut, quiet, and an avid shooter. Blake has chosen for his senior picture a photograph that portrays him in traditional trap shooting garb with a opened shotgun over his shoulder. I have been told I will not be able to provide copies of the picture until on or about next Wednesday although I have seen it would represent it is of a classic pose, and classy and tasteful.
On Tuesday, September 21, 2004 I, Mr. Douglass, Mrs. Douglass (she arrived late in the meeting, as she had prior obligations), and Blake Douglass attended a scheduled meeting at 3:00 PM with the Principal of Londonderry High School, Mr. James Elefante (603-432-6941 x 2200, fax 603-425-1022, 276 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH 03053, http://schools.londonderry.org/lhs/). The Superintendent was expected to attend this meeting.
The school superintendent, Nathan S. Greenberg, 268 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH 03053, phone 603-432-6920 x 103 fax 603-425-1049, did not attend the Tuesday meeting, despite the meeting having been scheduled well in advance (no rational explanation was given for his absence) and confirmed.
I attempted to present a reasoned appeal, one in which I tried to explain that other schools had trap teams, and published photos of same in their yearbooks, that many 'weapons' were depicted in the Londonderry yearbooks throughout history past and present (Londonderry Lancers' logo is a knight on a horse with a lance). I explained that the VERY limited written school policy in general, and more specifically pertaining to the yearbook, explicitly stated that students were to be allowed to express themselves. All pleas and explanations fell on deaf ears. It was clear a decision had been made without hearing or discussion, and no appeal was possible or would be allowed (other than a judicial one).
When queried directly, Principal Elefante admitted that he had no intention of changing his mind about allowing Blake's chosen senior picture to appear in the yearbook, and thus the more than one hour meeting was a waste of time. Interestingly enough, Principal Elefante offered to pay the cost of Blake Douglass having a different, more ' tasteful and appropriate' senior picture taken. When Principal Elefante was asked specifically who made the decision to prohibit Blake Douglass from using his chosen senior picture depicting Blake's interest in shooting, the Principal would not provide a direct answer. Mr. Elefante repeated several mantras all of which were in substance 'I support the decision' and 'this one WILL NOT be goin' in'. Again, when Principal Elefante was asked who made the decision to bar Blake's picture or who could override it, no clear, definite, or concise answer was provided. We were told the students on the yearbook staff 'agreed' with the decision to prohibit Blake from publishing his chosen picture, but when Mr. Elefante was asked which specific students were on the yearbook staff and if they saw the picture (as opposed to having it described to them), no clear or substantive answer was provided. Mr. Elefante made an emotional yet threatening plea that 'the family should sit down WITHOUT THE LAWYER and decide whether or not they want to bring something such as this on themselves and the community'.
The two yearbook advisors are reported to be Steve Jouster and Lou Graehein (I have been unable to confirm the spelling of this Lou's last name). Blake Douglass was told that the picture was political and not appropriate for a school setting. Blake does not see this as political or making a statement, it is simply a form of communication and expression. However, if it is political or a form of free speech and expression, then as the courts have said "students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse door" ... PUBLISH THE PICTURE. Shooting is Blake's chosen sport and area of interest, his hobby, just as some students like football, basketball, or have other hobbies or interests and have those interests depicted in their senior photo(s), Blake wants to have his hobby depicted in his senior photo. One student is pictured standing next to the front of a Ford Mustang, there are countless other examples of students expressing their individuality, hobbies and interests.
We do not know of any form of appeal other than judicial, which will have to be filed next Thursday, not Friday as previously reported, will be expensive, and time consuming. With the ongoing school funding crisis, school budgets are tight. Londonderry is willing to waste tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on lawyers rather than a myriad of other necessities simply to violate the rights of a student. School officials are making a poor choice by choosing to use taxpayer money to fund a lawsuit opposing Blake's picture! Please ask the individuals below to PUBLISH THE PICTURE!
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Penny Dean 603-230-9999
for the Douglass family
Londonderry, New Hampshire.
Nathan S. Greenberg
268 Mammoth Road
Londonderry, NH 03053
phone 603-432-6920 x 103
Londonderry High School
Mr. James Elefante
276 Mammoth Road
Londonderry, NH 03053
phone 603-432-6941 x 2200
Anne Jacoby, Chair School Board
39 Windsor Blvd
Steve Young, Vice Chair School Board
7 Fiddlers Ridge Road
Londonderry, NH 03053
Dan Bever School Board Member
17 Premier Drive
Londonderry, NH 03053
Ron Campo School Board Member
4 Woodhenge Circle
Paul Margolin School Board Member
35 King Arthur Drive
Anne Bartlett 603-432-6941 x 2017
I loved living in Londonderry, but there were too many Massachusetts liberals moving there. I hope New Hampshire can survive their cancer.....
Ok this pisses me off. I don't know who that James Elefante guy is, but he seems like a real dick. I don't recall Londonderry High School being so damned PC when I attended there
Like TimJ said, too many Massholes ruining another state.
It makes no sense.
Move from a state that taxes the shit out of you and is turning (or has it turned) into a PC nightmare to a state that allows you more freedom and less taxes. Then, you vote for the same shit that made you leave in the first place. The logic escapes me.
This story is being aired on Channel 7 (Boston WHDH) News tonight.
EDIT: And it seems the school board has turned down the request ... Lame. They cited several instances where other students had their photos published with musical instruments, sports equipment and even their cars ... I remember at my High School in 4 years we had 3 kids get killed in car accidents, but there was never so much as an injury in trap shooting.