Sep 14, 2021 - COVID

"Unmasked" yearbook theme flunks out at Grimes high school

An email of a high school teacher announcing "unmasked" as the yearbook theme for 2021-2022.

Dallas Center-Grimes yearbook adviser Ivy Soener sent an email to students last week that announced "unmasked" as the 2021-2022 theme. Screenshot courtesy of a parent

"Unmasked" will not be the 2021-2022 yearbook theme at Dallas Center-Grimes High School, principal Scott Blum assured parents in an email last week.

Driving the news: Teacher and yearbook adviser Ivy Soener announced in an email to students on Sept. 8 that "unmasked" had been selected out of at least 16 themes students considered via an online poll.

The intrigue: There was some miscommunication among school staff, including Blum. He didn't know about Soener's email when he sent his message to parents the following day after being alerted to concerns on social media, district spokesperson Anne Wemhoff told Jason yesterday.

  • The word "unmasked" had been used during a brainstorming session as a descriptor but was not selected, Blum mistakenly wrote in his Sept. 9 email.

What they're saying: Many parents found the theme to be insensitive, especially considering the ongoing pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 6,300 Iowans.

  • "What a slap in the face to all the kids that are wearing their masks to protect their younger siblings or to protect those with underlying health conditions," one DCG parent wrote on the Iowans for Universal Masks in Schools Facebook page.

The bottom line: The yearbook's theme is still being discussed, but it will not be COVID-19 related, Wemhoff said.


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