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On Sunday we told you about two photos that were not displayed during the Story County Fair until a mother made it known on Facebook. The photos featured flags supporting President Donald J. Trump.

The statement, provided by the Iowa State University Extension Outreach Advancement Communications Manager, acknowledged the photos were not displayed because they contained “political content.”

“A 4-H youth submitted two photos containing political content for exhibition at the Story County Fair,” said Jill Brimeyer. “The ISU Extension and Outreach Story County 4-H youth coordinator was unsure of the rules for displaying youth photos that expressed political endorsement or commentary, so she waited to display them and posed the question to the youth program specialist.”

The statement provided by Brimeyer said once the coordinator learned political content was allowable, she “immediately and personally ensured the photos were posted for display at the fair within the day.”

However, after the post was published on Facebook, Jess Soderstrum (the coordinator) said she never heard from Annette Brown on if the photos could be displayed. She said the photos were not on display due to an “error in communication” with Brown.

According to the ISU Extension and Outreach statement, the guidelines on photos worth calling attention to are:

  • General Exhibit Rule #5 – Exhibits that do not comply with the class description, size guidelines, copyright restrictions, safety, and approved methods, will be disqualified and not put on public display.
  • Photography Special Rule #7 – Subject matter of photographs must be in good taste and be appropriate for public display in a 4-H setting.
  • Photography Special Rule #8 – Photographs depicting unsafe practices or illegal activities will not be displayed.

“These guidelines don’t provide a comprehensive set of ‘allowed, not allowed’ examples,” Brimeyer said. “When situations arise where county staff members are unsure, they check with their youth program specialist. At 4-H fairs, both county and state, we have any number of exhibits and presentations in which 4-H members take a position for or against a cause, from methods of livestock production to biotechnology in crops to social issues. ISU Extension and Outreach accepts those exhibits and allows public exhibition.”

Here are the two photos that were not displayed until the parent posted about it on Facebook:

Most readers of The Iowa Standard expressed skepticism when it comes to the “error in communication” explanation offered by ISU’s county coordinator, including Republican Rep. Dean Fisher.

“Clearly it was not a mistake based on the email prior to the start of the fair,” he said. “Clearly the folks in charge owe this 4-H member not only a sincere apology but also some compensation for violating his rights to exhibit his work. This kind of bias must not be allowed to continue or the fair must be stripped of all government funding supports and forgo its non-profit status.”

Author: Jacob Hall