School Apologizes After 'Most Likely To Bomb U.S.' Superlative Appears Next to Muslim Student's Photo

An Arizona charter school has apologized after students were allowed to select their own controversial set of class superlatives for the yearbook. One eighth grade Muslim student designated himself "Most Likely to Bomb the U.S," while another student branded herself "Most Likely To Steal Gang People's Food," according to social media posts.

Located in Peoria, Sonoran Science Academy teaches kindergarten through 12th grade students. For the 2017 to 2018 iteration of the yearbook, classes were given a sheet of paper and were told to write a superlative or another quote of their choosing that would appear next to their picture.

Although the students thought the superlatives were a joke, parents assumed that the middle and high schoolers had voted as a class for the titles and complained to the school and local media.

On Monday, the school released a lengthy statement apologizing for the content, which administrators said should have been removed by the yearbook advisor prior to publishing. Reprints of the yearbook, with the inflammatory titles removed, were offered to parents and students at no additional cost.

"We deeply regret this incident and are investigating how it occurred so that this does not happen again in the future," Deb Hofmeier, the school's principal, said in a statement. "In the meantime, we will be reprinting a new version of the yearbook. If you already received the yearbook, please return it and we will ensure that you receive a new copy at no additional cost."

The school also defended the student who chose the superlative in question, telling parents that administrators had spoken to the 8th grader and that the situation stemmed from a "misguided attempt at humor."

"There was absolutely no malicious intent on the part of the student," Hofmeier said.

Many parents wrote on the school's Facebook page that they misunderstood and thought classmates had voted for the superlatives, and said the school's explanation made sense. Still, some remained concerned that the insensitive remarks slipped through the editing process.

"When we received the yearbook, we did not realize the student had labeled himself as most likely to bomb the U.S.," parent Jordyn Riddle wrote on the school's Facebook page. "We also didn't realize the other students labeled themselves as 'Most Annoying' or other shameful things. As it was when I was in school, I thought these were voted on by the student body."

Others were still irate. At least one parent announced plans to transfer her student to another campus.

Chairs stand on tables in an empty classroom. Stefanie Loos/Reuters