Handling the difficult issues in your yearbook The yearbook, as a historical document has the job of covering what happens in a particular year. Unlike the school newspaper, it is a mostly about highlighting the positive moments, leaving the controversial topics and opinions to the paper. However, when a school is touched by a tragedy the yearbook can not ignore it as if it did not happen. One of the hardest topics to cover is the death of a student. In light of the shooting in Ohio and some local deaths of students, I thought it was important to cover this topic. The first thing to remember is that if you are covering a person who died in your yearbook your are remembering the "Life" of the person not the death, so how they died is not a determining factor in if they are covered. A life is a life, all students should be treated equally. The second aspect to remember is that everyone needs to be treated the same, do not get too carried away trying to have a lot of photos, stories or comments. keep it simple. It would be perfectly acceptable to simply put their name, date of birth and date of death. You can add a single photo, if you have one, however, this is not the time to contact a grieving parent or friend asking for something. Lastly, it is a good idea to put a policy in place on how the yearbook will handle this. That way there is no question on how to handle each tragedy. Student Press Law and NSPA has a very helpful part of their website called "the wheel". The premise is you as advisers ans staff members do not need to recreate "the wheel", borrow ideas from other yearbook and newspaper staffs. More information on this and other topis are available on "the wheel". If your school needs help dealing with a tragedy, there are some other good organizations who can help. "Challenge Day" is an organization that has workshops, daily announcements and materials to help students and Administrators keep a positive outlook in their schools. MTV ran a series call "If you Really Knew ME" these shows were based on the Challenge Day program. I have an APP with the daily announcements- this is a great resource for everyone. If you want more information about materials please contact me. Another organization I just heard about is called "Teen Truth Live" Check out their videos and website. As I get more info I will pass it along.