From winning a state trophy for the speech team to being voted most likely to invent the next Facebook, high school yearbooks often honor students for their activities, accomplishments, and best attributes. Teen parenthood isn't exactly an "extracurricular" featured by most schools! But Mesa High School in Arizona doesn't seem to want to be like other schools, because they've devoted two pages of the school's 255-page yearbook to students who are expectant parents or raising children and attending high school at the same time ...
Understandably, the yearbook pages, titled "I'm working a double shift," have enraged parents and prompted complaints galore.
In response, district spokeswoman Helen Hollands said the photos are not what the school district expects, stating:
A yearbook is to commemorate the achievements of the students, particularly the senior class. Probably this would not fall into that category.
But Mesa High is actually not the only school in the country dealing with this issue. Apparently, schools in Michigan and North Carolina had to ban photos of pregnant students and of students holding their children.
While the intent in all cases must be to show respect for teens who are juggling parenthood and school, and there are those who say this is simply a reflection of a "new normal," parents are right to flip out over pages like those in Mesa High's yearbook. This does nothing but glorify something we simply do not want to see more of. And though some teens may inevitably become parents -- due to lack of sex education, not nearly enough access to birth control, etc. -- we'd be remiss to just sit back, shrug, and call that the "new norm."
With hope, the Mesa High backlash will make it clear no one -- parents, educators, and teens -- should be okay putting teen moms and dads on a pedestal. What they're dealing with certainly isn't something they should be shamed for, but it's also nothing to laud in a yearbook.
Would you be okay with this in your teen's yearbook?
Image via Corbis