US

Family says school shamed 9-year-old for wearing shirt showing deer she hunted

Deer family

Deer family  (AP)

It was a family passion for the Yatskos, one that is popular in their home state of Ohio.

Domonique Yatsko, 9, went on an organized youth hunt last year and harvested her first deer – an eight-point buck.

To mark the milestone, her family had the image of a beaming Domoninque with her trophy put on a sweatshirt which she wore to school.

“She was very proud when she took her first deer,” the mother said to the Medina Gazette.

But the girl’s family said a teacher shamed Domonique by scolding her about the shirt and saying: “Killing animals is not what we do.”

Domonique’s mother, Heidi, said the reaction by the teacher devastated her daughter, who threw away the shirt as soon as she arrived home.

“We’re a farming family, and (ancestors) have lived in this area since 1827,” said the mother to Outdoornews.com, which first reported the incident in recent days. “So, she’s used to raising livestock, planting crops, and planting fields for wildlife as well as hunting.”

Heidi Yatsko contacted the school, expecting to get an apology for what she saw as overzealousness over an activity that is legal and which her family has engaged in responsibly.

“The principal’s quote to me was ‘we don’t have dead animals in school,’” Yatsko said, according to Outdoornews. “So, I asked her what they serve in the cafeteria?”

The state’s Division of Wildlife organized the youth hunting season. John Windau, the wildlife communications manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Division of Wildlife, said that hunting is tightly regulated and benefits conservation in the state.

“In North American, most wildlife conservation is paid for by people who buy fishing and hunting licenses and trapping permits,” Windau told FoxNews.com, adding that hunting helps in other ways, as well. “We don’t have many natural predators that control the deer population anymore.”

“The deer would continue to grow, grow, grow beyond what society would tolerate," he said. "It would cause crop damage, car accidents. Hunting is really the only effective tool that we have to keep the deer population in check."

Efforts to reach the Yatskos were unsuccessful.  

On Thursday night, school Superindent Catherine Aukerman, emailed a statement to FoxNews.com.

"At the outset, we want to emphasize that this little girl did nothing wrong," it read. "Following conversations with her parents, we are in agreement that this matter has been resolved.

"At the request of her parents and out of respect for their privacy," it continued, "we have committed not to comment further on this matter."