Yes, you read that right! Here’s the story of one teacher who’s still eating crow, not deer.
A 9-year-old girl bagging her first buck — an 8-pointer!!!! — should be celebrated not only as a blow for feminism but as an announcement of a glorious new arrival on the hunting scene.
But when Domonique Yatsko bagged her fist buck, proudly displaying a picture of it on a sweatshirt she wore to school, she was greeted with ridicule by her teacher.
You read that right: her TEACHER attacked the young girl — part of a proud hunting family — for harvesting a BUCK during the last day of Ohio’s Youth Deer Gun Weekend.
It was, as they say, a day that will live in infamy for that teacher.
“She was very proud when she took her first deer,” Domonique’s mother, Heidi Yatsko, told The Gazette of Medina County, Ohio.
But when Domonique came home from school, her mother said, the traumatized child threw the sweatshirt in the garbage. Domonique told her mother she was “yelled at” by her teacher and told to take off the sweatshirt because “killing animals is not what we do.
“She was ashamed and belittled in front of everyone in the classroom,” Heidi said. “She didn’t know what to think; she was so upset.”
You can guess what happened next. This is Ohio, after all, where many children, especially in largely rural counties like Medina, learn to shoot, hunt — hell, even trap muskrat — well before they learn to drive. The story went viral after a state gaming official tipped off Outdoor News.
The youth deer-gun season in Ohio is one of four special youths-only hunting seasons, including small game, wild turkey and waterfowl.
Domonique and Ohio’s other young hunters checked 5,930 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season on Nov. 19-20. Youth hunters can pursue deer with a legal shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun or specific straight-walled cartridge rifle, under supervision of an adult.
The Yatsko family has more than 200 acres they hunt on, a tradition for the family that goes back two centuries in Ohio.
This was the first year Domonique got her apprentice license and tags for hunting season.
“She scouted the deer,” Heidi said. “She’s gone out many times and saw very nice deer and didn’t take a shot. She waited until she felt the time was right and when it was the right deer.
“She did a very good job and she was very excited,” Heidi told the Gazette.
Her mother is now very worried. Since the incident, Domonique hasn’t been herself.
“I think it hurt her more internally,” Heidi said. “The person she grew up to be and the family she’s surrounded by was told it’s wrong.
“We have finally gotten her to where she will go back out,” Heidi said. “We’re trying to bring the joy back to go out hunting and be in the tree stand.”
Hunting is simply a way of life for the family and that isn’t going to change.
“It’s the way we grew up and the way they are growing up,” Heidi said. Her and her husband George have four children. “We raise and butcher our own livestock.”
The kids earn their right to hunt by working on the farm first. They help by raising livestock, planting crops and planting separate fields specifically for wildlife.
For it’s part, the school system’s superintendent stepped up to take the flack for the teacher and school principal, who have not commented.
“The daughter had felt that she had been reprimanded and didn’t understand why and I apologized for that and for any misunderstanding that may have occurred,” Superintendent Catherine Aukerman told the Gazette.
“The situation as I understand it is several children expressed concerns to the teacher and the teacher asked the student to step into hallway and take off (the sweatshirt) because it was upsetting to some of the students, and she did,” Aukerman explained.
Hunting apparel, including camouflage and images of animals, does not violate the Highland dress code.
“We respect the rich tradition of hunting that many students and families share in the community,” Aukerman said. “Not every family hunts and all children have been exposed to the images. But anything that becomes a disruption to the classroom — we have to take that into consideration.”