Utah high school yearbook causes controversy between rivals

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Hateful words about a rival high school, splattered across a single page in a high school yearbook, are causing outrage for a community and questions for the school district.

“I think it represents Maple Mountain (high school) honestly, very negatively,” said 17-year-old Kilee Hullinger.

Kilee is a junior at Maple Mountain High School. When the yearbooks started coming out on Friday, she couldn’t wait to see it.

Two thousand students attend Maple Mountain, but only 500 have been given their year books. Surrounded by a group of her friends, Kilee and the other girls flipped through the yearbook laughing and reminiscing.

Then, came page 42. On it, pictures of her junior class and something else.

“How did this possibly get passed?” Kilee asked.

A half page section making fun of their neighboring rivals, Springville High School.

“Stupid, lame, satanic, trash, annoying, ghetto, average and snobby,” Kilee read from the word cloud on the page.

Even though only a quarter of the students had received the book, it didn’t take long before a picture of the page spread to the community and students at Springville.

“My first reactions were, like offended, a little mad,” said Kilee’s brother, Jesse Hullinger, who is a senior at Springville High.

To this brother-sister duo, Springville is anything but the words written on that page.

“Fun, loving,” said Jesse describing his school.

“Friends, family, we’re all a community together,” Kilee said.

Now, Jesse is just laughing it off.

“Maple Mountain tried taking this cheap-shot right at the end of the year and it just totally backfired on them!” Jesse joked.

Nebo School District, on the other hand, is not taking it so lightly.

“No one saw the page before it went to print, because had they seen this, it would have been removed immediately,” said Lana Hiskey with Nebo School District.

“Students might think something is funny, this definitely is not funny and is definitely something we take very seriously,” Hiskey added.

Nebo said only a couple of people were involved in creating the page and those responsible are facing repercussions.

The district plans to cover the words in the remainder of the yearbooks before they get passed out, until then they want to focus on rebuilding relationships.

“This seemed very hateful and our fear is that if parents and others on social media continues the hate, we don’t want that kind of a thing. We really want there to be unity and for them to come together,” Hiskey said.

“This shouldn’t represent Maple Mountain. We’re a great school and even though it doesn’t seem like it right now, a lot of people still love Springville,” said Kilee.

Administration from both schools met Friday night to discuss how to move forward from this.

Maple Mountain will hold an assembly Monday morning to open the discussion with the students, and the district also plans to make shirts to help unify the rivals.

Maple Mountain High School did issue an apology to Springville High School, acknowledging the incident and apologizing for what was said in the yearbook.

Springville shared that message with their parents and students, it said in part, “we appreciate that the MMHS administration is taking steps to rectify the situation.” The full text may be seen below.