Yearbook criticized for ‘most likely to disappear’ category

WEST VIRGINIA — Cameron High School’s yearbook categorized two students as the “most likely to disappear,” and one of the students’ families wants to know why.

The students in the photo were graduating seniors at Cameron High School last spring and didn’t know their names and picture were under the “most likely to disappear” category in the 2013-2014 yearbook. Both graduates found out about the category in September, and one, “Brady,” was a special-needs student, said Jerry Sklavounakis, an attorney for the family.

“I just think the young man should have been treated better on the way out,” said Sklavounakis.

Other categories in the 2014 Cameron Hall of Fame section of the yearbook include “future millionaires,” “cutest couple” and “most athletic.” Sklavounakis said the “most likely to disappear” category was the only one to have “negative connotations.”

“We want to turn this into a positive, and hopefully we can create some kind of dialogue concerning how this happened,” he said.

Sklavounakis said he called and sent letters to Marshall County Schools Superintendent Michael Hince and Cameron High School Principal Jack Cain to ask why the district allowed the category and how it happened. Hince returned one of the calls while Sklavounakis was out of the office, but they haven’t talked directly yet, Sklavounakis said.

Cameron High School Principal Jack Cain declined to comment. Hince, Assistant Superintendent Corey Murphy and Richard Boothby, an attorney for the district, did not return telephone calls and email requesting comment.

An NBC affiliate reported that the family asked the district to destroy the yearbooks and reprint them without the category but the district didn’t respond. Sklavounakis told the station he viewed the yearbook category as a violation of the district’s bullying policy. “And in this day and age, it’s pretty amazing that someone with the school system would approve this superlative for any student, let alone someone with special needs,” he said in the broadcast.

Sklavounakis said the yearbook category doesn’t reflect how the whole community feels and wants to talk with district officials.

“I’ve been attempting to create a dialogue,” he said, “and I’m hopeful that someone soon will contact me.”

SPLC staff writer Anna Schiffbauer can be reached by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 127.