Menagha High School students and parents are upset over a school decision to exclude certain student photos from the yearbook.
Stephanie Myer tells local station KSTP that she didn't want to drop out of school, so she studied hard even while having a baby in the middle of the school year, wanting to celebrate and remember her success by including her newborn in her senior photo. But administrators have told Myer that her photo won't be included -- because she chose to pose with her daughter.
"We've never had a student with anyone else and we don't see a reason to start now since it's the senior composite," Menahga Public Schools Superintendent Mary Klamm told KTSP.
But Myer argues that a senior photo should represent who a student is, and the school shouldn't prevent teens from being able to show that to others -- a sentiment echoed by others in the community as they are also fighting to include a memorial page for Kyle Kenyon, a student who committed suicide last January.
Kyle's mother Peggy Havnes is supporting his friends as other parents seek to appeal the decision.
"I think it could be used as a teaching tool with a message of suicide prevention," Havnes told the Grand Forks Herald. "The school thinks that putting a memorial in the yearbook is glamorizing suicide but that's not what the students are doing… I really think the yearbook should be up to the kids and include what they want."
Klamm tells the Herald that the decision not to include a memorial was made while the school was focusing on how to handle the death of a student, and took its steps based on research and what they thought was best practice. She notes that officials are now seeking advice from other administrators who have had experience handling similar situations.
"This is a new precedent for us… so obviously we need to look at our policies because we have never had to address this before," Klamm told KTSP.
Strife between students and administrators over yearbook policies have arisen over a number of conflicting perspectives in schools across the country. Ceara Sturgis, a 17-year-old lesbian student, was excluded from her school yearbook because she chose to wear a tuxedo for her senior portrait. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Copiah County School District for discrimination, and announced last December that students would now be required to wear caps and gowns in their senior photos.
But in a more controversial tale of yearbook battles, Colorado's Durango High School repeatedly denied photos submitted for the yearbook from 18-year-old Sydney Spies. The teen had tried to use photos taken of her from modeling photo sessions, but the school deemed them "too sexy" and sent them back.
When Spies failed to turn in a photo that complied with the school dress code in a third round of submissions, the yearbook's editors decided to choose for her -- using the picture from her school ID card.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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