Why This Dad's Facebook Post About His Fargo Teen Is Going Viral

December 14th 2015

Laura Donovan

Josh Renville, a student at Fargo North High School in North Dakota, is making headlines for his dad Charlie Renville's viral Facebook post about his gun-toting senior portrait. In his senior photo, Josh decided to pose with a rifle alongside an American flag, and his father expressed outrage on Facebook that the school chose not to include the photo in the yearbook because of the image's violent implications.

According to Renville, Fargo North High School head principal Andy Dahlen said that he and the district decided not to have the picture appear in the yearbook because it promotes violence and breaks school rules. Since the post started gaining traction on social media, Dahlen's phone has been ringing off the hook with people vocalizing their opinions on the matter.

"About 20 [calls] were not supporting (me) — five were still supporting," Dahlen told NBC News on Friday. "Yesterday, it was just the opposite. When you're looking whether it's appropriate or not ... I had a gut instinct that it was not."


My first update! Josh's picture is now under review by the Associate Superintendent Bob Grosz. But a interesting...

Posted by Charlie Renville on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In his Facebook post, Reville reminded Dahlen that the yearbook portrait is nothing more than a photo.

"[It's no] different then [sic] the pictures in the school library of soldiers during anyone of our nations [sic] wars," Renville wrote. "Or what about hunting books? Do those pictures that violate federal law too? And what about schools in the surrounding area that have Trap and Skeet teams do those kids and their pictures break the law? How about their Letterman jackets with little rifles on them, does that break the law? And how does it promote violence?"


Renville added that the photo depicts a boy who loves his country, among other things, and that Dahlen merely dislikes guns.

"I see a kid that loves his nation, loves free speech and loves the second the 2nd Amendment," he continued. "The rifle is a rifle he built and it is his favorite rifle. Dahlen just doesn't like rifles, he doesn't believe in or support the second Amendment. He is a far left progressive who is using his position to promote his political agenda and push it on our children."

Dahlen told City Pages that the shirt doesn't mesh well with the school's policy against bringing weapons to school. He added that the shirt also goes against a rule that forbids "school-sponsored media from publishing anything that promotes law-breaking, violence, or terrorism." The third related rule prohibits clothing that celebrates drinking, drugs, and guns, among other things. While the policies don't specifically mention yearbook photos that include guns, Dalen and the district chose to turn down the photo based on the multiple policies in place.


“It’s clear from our perspective that if you have a law that prevents kids from having that on school property than you surely wouldn’t put that picture in your yearbook,” Dahlen said.

Renville said that Dahlen is a "pretty liberal" person who has challenged his family's conservative values in the past. Renville said that Josh and his friends were once barred from debating gun rights in the cafeteria, but Dahlen insisted that he harbors no grudges or animosity towards specific families.

Renville told City Pages that Fargo North students used to have their hunting photos printed in the yearbook, but Dahlen said that this hasn't been happened in at least four years.


“We live in a different world today than we did when I went to school or maybe even when you went to school,” Dahlen said. “So, I think we have to look at things differently.”

Renville shared his Facebook post shortly before the three-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. Looking at media reports and publicly available information, a new NBC News analysis found that 554 kids under the age of 12 have died of gun violence since the Sandy Hook tragedy, noting that this figure is likely higher because some suicides and gun deaths are not reported.

RELATED: On the Third Anniversary of Sandy Hook, One Blunt Tweet Still Says It All

NBC News' Polly DeFrank and Mike Brunker wrote that this comes out to "just under one death of a child by firearm every two days in this country."

"That's not an improvement from the rate before Sandy Hook, and one new government dataset suggests that the risk of children dying by gunfire may even have increased slightly since then," the journalists wrote.

Check out ATTN:'s video on the history of why guns are illegal in the U.S.:


Gun laws in these countries are the exact opposite of gun laws in the U.S.Read more here: http://bit.ly/1NKn5SS

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, December 3, 2015