DATELINE: BIGELOW HIGH SHOOL, ARKANSAS – Before delivering the 2020 – 2021 yearbook to students earlier this month, school administrators ripped out a two-page spread depicting a timeline of events from the academic year. Among the high/lowlights included were the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, former President Donald Trump’s claims of a rigged election, the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is unclear exactly who was behind the decision to excise the pages from the student-designed yearbook, but East End School District Superintendent Heidi Wilson justified the move by citing “community backlash.”
In an interview with the Arkansas Press Association Publisher Weekly, Megan Clark Walton, who is the former yearbook adviser and also a former journalist, said she feels “burned a bit” by what happened at Bigelow High School.
Reflecting on her time as the yearbook adviser and a journalism teacher at the school, Walton said, “It was my favorite course to teach, and I was able to open kids’ eyes to the world around them. Bigelow is such a tiny, tiny community, and journalism taught them how to look at the world objectively, which I don’t think they get a lot of time at home.”
The racial makeup of the town was 97.57% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 0.61% Asian, and 0.30% from two or more races. 2.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Bigelow, population 413, is a town in Perry County, Arkansas, United States. Located in Central Arkansas near the confluence of the Fourche La Fave River and Arkansas River, the community was incorporated in 1905 as Esau. Based largely on the timber industry, the town grew until the lumber mills were closed in 1920. Wikipedia