Controversy swirls around Confederate-themed yearbook photo

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Some see yearbook photo as disrespectful
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Some see a Fayetteville yearbook photo as disrespectful.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC -- A yearbook picture at a Cumberland County school is stirring up controversy. Some parents and students say they're horrified after seeing a picture of a student wearing a Confederate flag shirt, holding a gun while standing in what appears to be a cotton field.

Jay Butler has a son who attends Cape Fear High School. He said at a time when racial tension was high, this is the last picture he expected to see printed in his son's yearbook.

"It disrespects other students and nationalities. Whoever did the yearbook really screwed up on this one," Butler said. "People were beaten, whipped, raped just to pick that cotton. It is offensive because we're trying to get past that."

Other people we spoke to said they believe Butler is looking too deeply into the picture.

"Let's say you had a kid who was black and his grandparents were great members of the Black Panther Party. I'm going to wear a Black Panther shirt to my senior picture. You can't judge the young man for that," said one man.

ABC11 spoke to the student's mother by phone on Wednesday afternoon. She said she sent in the photo because she saw nothing wrong with it.

Cumberland County Schools released the following statement to ABC11:

"We sincerely regret that a photo of this nature was overlooked. It does not reflect the values of Cape Fear High School. Our climate is one of inclusiveness. Moving forward, measures will be taken to ensure there is a more thorough review process of the yearbook in place before it is published."