High School Bans Teen Mom's Photo From Yearbook

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teen momFor the first time ever, the students at North Carolina's Wheatmore High were allowed to use a prop in their senior yearbook pictures. The only rule: it had to represent an achievement or something they liked. For most students, that meant a basketball, award, violin, or family pet. However, one student wanted to use a photo of herself holding her baby. For Caitlin Tiller, posing with her son Leelin represented taking responsibility and unconditional love. It's an admirable gesture, to be sure, but the school banned the image and they were right to do so.

Caitlin certainly has much to be proud of. She has done something many teen moms are not able to do. She actually finished high school in December, started college in January, and works more than 30 hours a week at a part-time job. She says that her motivation for working so hard is her son. It's an amazing story and she should be congratulated for being such a wonderful example, not just to young moms, but to all students.

However, I do see the school's point. They say the yearbook should be all about the student and not an extension of the student's family. I will admit, my initial knee-jerk reaction to Caitlin's story was that she should be allowed to use any photo she wants. But when I took a step back and thought about it from a parenting perspective, I changed my mind. It's not that she shouldn't be congratulated for what she has accomplished. She deserves our admiration for not giving up her dreams of an education while still supporting her son. But teen pregnancy is a serious issue and not one to be taken lightly.

With the success of shows like Teen Mom, there is a real fear that in many ways, our culture is glorifying the situation. The sad fact is, most moms that age won't have the opportunity to go to college or even finish high school for that matter. In fact, teen pregnancy is the number one reason teen girls drop out of school. Only 1/3 will actually graduate and less than 1 percent will go on to earn a college degree. On top of that, 25 percent of teen moms have a second child within two years.

It's not only hard on young moms. Their kids statistically do worse in school and are more likely to grow up in poor families. And daughters of teen moms are three times more likely to become teen moms themselves, creating a cycle. That's not to say all hope is lost. Certainly Caitlin is on her way to be a shining example of overcoming those odds. But I understand the school's reluctance to allow the photo in the yearbook.

Do you think Caitlin should be allowed to pose with her son in the high school yearbook?


behavior, sex, school, teen mom


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nonmember avatar Lucy

OK. So a cheerleader might be able to take a picture with her pom-poms, but a teen mom who showed determination and beat the odds can't take a picture with her son? Makes total sense.

nhamp... nhampton401

I get tired of seeing things like "Their kids statistically do worse in school and are more likely to grow up in poor families". I became a mom at 19 and my son is now 6. He's the smartest kid in his class (the teachers' observation not mine) nor are we poor. Do I live paycheck to paycheck supporting 2 children by myself as a single mother? Yes I sure do, but my bills are always paid and there's always food on the table and clothes on our backs.  It's made out that you and your children are doomed to fail because you're a teen mom. It's all about what you want for your children and yourself. My younger son is just as smart has his older brother and they're both determined to be doctors or police men or something in their futures. Not all teen moms and kids of teen moms are drug head losers. Rant over..

work4... work4mickey

I imagine the point of alowing a prop was to allow the students to express their identity. Once you have a child, that child, and being a mom, becomes a HUGE part of you identity. I think the school is mistaken in their position.

nonmember avatar Shandeigh

I think the school was right. A child is not a prop.

LadyM... LadyMinni

Kids aren't props. A child isn't a toy, a play thing. Children aren't pompoms or awards. Children are children, and unless he was actively attending classes with his mom I agree with their decision.

nhampton, I don't think you count in the teen mom statistics. 19 year olds aren't really what those stats cover. They're more geared towards the 16 year olds who are still children themselves. And the statistics are completely true. I'm not saying that all teen parenting is harmful to all children in all cases -I became a mom at 18- but it usually does cause problems for the kids.

Todd Vrancic

The only thing I will say is that a child is not a prop.  But if kids posed with pets, which, in my opinion, do not qualify as props, she should be able to pose with her child.

kisse... kisses5050

 A child nor a pet is a prop... neither should be allowed as an accessory... maybe she could pose with a teddy bear..  to represent motherhood.? I dont know but it is not a family portrait it a sr picture.

nonmember avatar kayla

ours originally said 'no other living thing in the picture', but eventually changed to 'pets only, no people' and there you have it.

Caera Caera

She absolutely SHOULD NOT.

A school yearbook should celebrate students and their time at school. NOT their not-in-highschool family members.

This is no different from not allowing a graduating senior to pose with the little sister or brother he or she raised $30,000 for a lifesaving bonemarrow transplant, and no one would blink an eye at that.


Miche... Michelephant

There are usually senior 'adds' in the backk of the year book where you get to include pictures of family and your own childhood pictures.  That is the place for her and her child. 

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