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Arizona school apologizes for 'most likely to bomb the U.S.' yearbook superlative

Posted at 7:12 PM, May 14, 2018

It's a yearbook controversy, which has an Arizona charter school issuing an apology to parents Monday night.

Parents who just received the yearbook from Sonoran Science Academy in Peoria, Arizona were in disbelief after seeing a page in which a student with a Muslim first name was voted "most likely to bomb the U.S."

Bree Brown has an 11-year-old daughter at the school and said her daughter showed her the post over the weekend and appeared disturbed by it.

"I looked down and read, most likely to bomb the U.S. and I just sat there for a second and thought, 'No way. This is not happening,'" Brown said.

"I thought it was a joke, I didn't believe her at first," added her husband, Kian Brown.

The parents said they wondered how something like that could have made it to the printer and been published with no oversight from school administrators.

"It was missed. There's a faculty advisor in charge of the yearbook. They did not catch it," said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the Sonoran Science Academy.

The parents also questioned other posts in the yearbook. It was all part of a survey school staff said they gave the students.

Questions included "voted most likely to..." and  "favorite memory..." — the kind of questions you see in every yearbook, almost a rite of passage for the graduating class.

In this case, school officials said there was no vote. Students filled in the blanks themselves, hence the 8th grader himself wrote in the words "most likely to bomb the U.S."

Regardless, the Browns said they felt faculty should have caught that before the book made it to the printer.

Other posts that caught their eye included a student "voted most likely to 'boonk' from a gang member."

Kian Brown said he looked up the word and found it to mean "steal."

Another student voted "most likely to be an internet scammer," and one student who stated their favorite memory as "being stabbed with a pencil."

"That was an actual occurrence that happened at the school. Police were called. It wasn't funny," Bree Brown said

School officials said they are investigating the incident and put out the following statement:

Statement from Principal Deb Hofmeier:

"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."