BEND, Ore. - Bend Cascade Middle School had to confiscate about 800 yearbooks Thursday after discovering some unapproved, inappropriate content. The loss adds up to more than $10,000.
The last day of school is supposed to be a time for celebration, but at Cascade, the focus quickly shifted to controversy after a group of students made last-minute yearbook changes.
The school said it had no choice but to act.
"I'm kind of mad, because it's just two to three kids who kind of ruined it for 800, so nobody got their yearbook," said sixth-grader Nick Brees.
"This is such a great school -- that's why I'm so disappointed," said Principal Stephanie Bennett. "I would have never expected someone to do something like that."
Nick just finished sixth grade, an accomplishment quickly overshadowed by a message from the principal over the intercom.
"They made the announcement, saying that kids had written inappropriate stuff, and they keep finding more and more by the minute, so teachers have to re-collect yearbooks," Brees said.
Nick's father said he was disappointed his son didn't get to keep the yearbook, but understands the school's decision.
"I support the school for doing what they did," Scot Brees said. "They made the right decision."
But it was a decision that wasn't easy to make.
"We just felt like it was wrong," Bennett said. "We can't send it out, and we're going to reprint them and try to get them to families as soon as we can get those reprinted."
The reprint that will cost money -- money the school doesn't have. But one Bend business owner has decided to step in and make a difference.
"Immediately, I realized I live in a community where that's not OK with me, and I wanted to do something about it," said Bellatazza owner Stewart Fritchman.
Nick said he's still confused as to why his classmates would do such a thing.
"I know one or two, not personally, but yeah, they were pretty good school kids," Nick said. "So I don't know why they would do this."
Fritchman, owner of a popular downtown coffee shop, has donated $1,000 to the yearbook fund, and hopes other businesses and parents will support the cause. If you want to help, you can drop off a check at Bellatazza at 869 Wall St. in Bend.
You can also email Fritchman to discuss what is needed at Stewart@Bellatazza.com.
Each student got to keep the front pages their friends signed in the yearbook.
Here's the notice Bennett sent home to parents:
June 12, 2014
RE: 2013-14 Yearbooks
It is with much regret that I type this message.
We are holding all yearbooks until further notice. If your student has a yearbook, please return it to the school as we have learned that students allegedly hacked into the yearbook design file and inserted some inappropriate content.
As a result, we have decided to pull all of the yearbooks at this time. Students are being allowed to keep their signature pages.
We hope to be able to reorder this year's yearbook - but the cost may be prohibitive. (We have been given an estimate of nearly $10,000.) We have some hope that those responsible for this prank will pay restitution to cover the costs of reproduction.
At this point, I can offer a refund or you can wait to learn more as this situation further develops. I will keep you all posted via email.
If we are able to reprint, we will issue new yearbooks at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year and we will invite you to come by to pick them up.
We feel terrible that our students will not receive their yearbooks this spring, our deepest apologies.