An Ohio school district accused of “shaming” a 9-year-old girl for wearing a shirt that depicted a deer she killed has issued a statement denying the allegation.
A Jan. 4 article in Outdoor News detailed what the author called “an incident of hunter shaming.” According to the story, 9-year-old Domonique Yatsko recently killed her first deer. To mark the occasion, her family made her a sweatshirt with an image of the dead deer on it.
When Domonique wore the sweatshirt to school, her teacher allegedly told her that “killing animals is not what we do,” according to Outdoor News. Domonique was reportedly so upset that she threw her shirt in the garbage.
The article goes on to state that Domonique’s mother, Heidi, contacted the school hoping to receive an apology, only to be disappointed.
“The principal’s quote to me was, ‘We don’t have dead animals in school,'” Heidi told Outdoor News. “So I asked her what they serve in the cafeteria.”
Heidi also spoke to the Medina Gazette about the incident, saying that Domonique was humiliated.
“She was ashamed and belittled in front of everyone in the classroom,” she said. “She didn’t know what to think. She was so upset.”
Four days after their initial article was published, Outdoor News ran a follow-up piece relating the school’s side of the story.
“Approximately six weeks ago (on Nov. 21), several children expressed concern to their teacher over the image on a shirt worn by a classmate,” the school district stated, according to Outdoor News. “The teacher then took the student into the hallway and quietly asked her to take the shirt off. The student complied.”
The school district then challenged Domonique’s mother’s version of the ensuing phone conversation, stating that an apology was issued by the school.
“Following a phone call from the student’s mother, an apology was issued almost immediately to the student and the family by the teacher, principal, and superintendent,” the district said.
School Superintendent Catherine Aukerman spoke on the incident to the Medina Gazette, saying that while the school district “respects the rich tradition of hunting that so many of our students and families share, we are also aware that not every family hunts and not all children have been exposed to those types of images.”
Sources: Outdoor News (2), Medina Gazette / Photo Credit: Outdoor News