Northwood-Kensett team’s ‘Back the Blue’ posters will be sold after all
By Shane Lanz, Mason City Globe Gazette
One day after Northwood photographer Jodie Bachtle decided to not sell a Northwood-Kensett “Back the Blue” volleyball poster that was meant to raise funds for a post-prom celebration, it looks like the posters will be sold after all.
In a message to the Globe Gazette, Bachtle said that after she was able to hold back the selling of the posters for 24 hours, a decision was made to allow them to sell as designed.
“The vb girls took an anonymous poll to determine what direction they felt was best and they wanted to proceed with the original poster versus changing anything,” Bachtle said in the message.
The “Back the Blue” posters were intended to showcase the mutual support between the Northwood-Kensett volleyball program and the Worth County Sheriff’s Office, but caused controversy in light of recent protests regarding police killings.
The poster features the Northwood-Kensett volleyball team posing with Worth County sheriff’s deputies, along with the phrases “Back the Blue” and “Whatever It Takes.”
After receiving negative messages, Bachtle pulled the posters from sale on Friday.
The project was coordinated between Bachtle, the team, and the Worth County Sheriff’s Office, and the photo was taken by Northwood photographer Kat Polfer.
On Friday, Northwood-Kensett Superintendent Michael Crozier sent out a press release about the poster, reading in part:
“While not the organizers of the project, the Northwood-Kensett district recognizes that some may perceive this as insensitive given the environment we are in as a country. Although our law enforcement are held in the highest regard in our communities, we also recognize the value of the social justice movement and what it means to so many.
“We hope that this incident can be viewed as an opportunity for growth and learning for all involved.”
Bachtle said that she will digitally remove or cover any players that choose not to participate, a decision that will be made by 5 p.m. on Monday.
“There were a handful of girls that were unsure and we are taking every step to try to reach a positive agreement for everyone,” Bachtle said.
Crozier and Northwood-Kensett volleyball coach Heather Rheingans did not immediately return a message seeking comment.