Sydney Spies, Durango High School Senior Has All Her Yearbook Photos Rejected, Editors Choose For Her
Durango's controversial high school headliner Sydney Spies submitted a third modeling photo for yearbook approval that was also denied. After turning it down, Spies says the editors of her yearbook also decided to use the picture from her school ID card and that none of her preferred modeling shots would make it into their ad section either.
The first photo Spies submitted that started it all showed the 18-year-old wearing a black shawl, a yellow skirt and more skin than the yearbook editors decided was appropriate. Durango High School's dress code calls for tops that "fully cover the chest, back, abdomen, and sides of the student."
When the Durango Herald broke the yearbook staff's rejection of the first photo on Jan. 5, Spies and her mother began making their case to a handful of local media outlets and later on the Today Show that she was just trying to exercise her right to freedom of expression.
"Some people might think it's a little bit sexy or inappropriate. But I think it's artistic. I think it's a good expression of who I am as a person," Spies told 9News. "I'm a dancer, I'm trying to be a model, I really enjoy photography and I think that this is a good thing to represent me and I think they are taking away my freedom of expression."
Spies tells The Huffington Post that she submitted a total of three different photos to the yearbook staff before the deadline, all of which were rejected.
From Spies' Facebook profile.
The yearbook adviser and editors have decided to use my school ID picture as my senior photo. Since I went to NY, then had the flu they said I was too late to submit another Sr. picture. They ALSO decided that I couldn't use the 'controversial' picture in my ad anymore that I had already paid for, so I requested my money back.
I also dropped my yearbook class because its become a hostile environment. What a lovely Sr. year this has turned out to be...
After Spies submitted her first photo, the Durango High School yearbook staff told media outlets that they would let her run her pictures as a paid ad in the back of the book for $300. However Spies says the yearbook staff has since changed its mind and will not be running any of Spies' modeling shots.
Spies' mom Miki Spies told Westword that she will be making a formal complaint to the school board and superintendent about the handling of the situation.
"Sydney feels very bullied, by the entire school, basically," (Miki Spies) maintains. "The school has been awful and the kids have been awful. She's received very little support in any way from anybody. There's been a ton of cyber-bullying, where people can say whatever they want without looking the person in the eyes. It's been extremely hurtful for our entire family."
Things have gotten worse since the Today show appearance, Miki believes. She maintains that Sydney had an "A" in the yearbook class before she left, but returned to a "C," even though she'd turned in all of her assignments. She adds that Sydney has since dropped the class -- and she'll be leaving the school as a whole soon. Miki notes that administrators arranged for Sydney to take an online class that will allow her to complete all of her graduation requirements early -- about three weeks from now.
Spies says that while she hasn't been contacted by any modeling agencies yet, after she graduates she plans to continue her dance in a dance company and do some travelling.
PHOTOS of Spies' trip to the Today Show and her first two senior photos that were rejected by the yearbook staff: