Controversy erupted after school district officials censored an Ammo Depot ad on Ponderosa High School’s Bruin Stadium scoreboard.
“Firearms and ammo are prohibited on campus so is advertising them the right thing to do?” Chris Hoffman, superintendent of the El Dorado Union High School District, said. “We’re a school, so is this the right place to do this? It’s worth having a conversation about.”
The company also issued a press release after the school’s decision. In part it reads, “On Friday, Aug. 17, school officials, in defiance of school and district policies, covered Ammo Depot’s advertising on the scoreboard. The school has turned the sign/advertising around, giving the impression that the advertisement/sponsor is in distress or that there is something wrong, when, in fact, the Ammo Depot’s sign was both approved and paid for before it was displayed on the scoreboard. By turning the sign around or covering it up, not only is advertising deprived, but it becomes a point of negative advertising — a condemnation by the school purely because a few administrators dislike shooting sports.”
Lungren said the company had previously signed an advertising contract with the Ponderosa Bruin Den, a volunteer group that handles advertising and raises funds for the school’s football program. Lungren said Ponderosa Bruin Den officials were the ones who approved, manufactured and mounted the sign.
“The school administrators have violated their own policies by flipping the sign,” said Lungren. “They shouldn’t use school policies to implement their personal bias.”
Lungren said his family owned company is a longtime supporter of groups in the county, including Ponderosa High’s Future Farmers of America program, Union Mine’s High School football and Boy Scouts. “I grew up in Rescue and my siblings and I all attended Ponderosa High School,” he said.
“We are trying to work towards a solution,” she offered.
Garrett said the issue was not with the sign but rather its design, which she described as red with bullet holes through it, explaining, “We have nothing against the people or the establishment.”
Echoing Garrett’s comments, Hoffman also said the decision to flip the sign was not a personal thing. The superintendent said he and his son are themselves signed up for firearms training in September.
Lungren said they had no problem redesigning and rewording the sign to focus more on the firearms training Ammo Depot offers. “We’re happy to change the design of the sign. All we wanted was the sign back up.”