Pregnant & Parenting Students Featured in Yearbook, Outrage Ensues
Imagine you're a student who's had to make a difficult choice—
A student who has sacrificed a lot, worked extra hard to complete your education, and faced a lot of shame, discouragement, and challenges along the way.
And then, just as your efforts are paying off and your high school graduation looms near, you learn that your high school yearbook committee has decided to pay a special tribute to you, the teen parent, in their high school yearbook.
You might feel that for once, you are a part of your school: a student that has made a great accomplishment alongside of all the other graduating students. You may feel proud.
That is, until, your school gets angry calls directed at you, simply because they're unhappy the school featured you—and your baby—in the yearbook.
Well, that's exactly what happened to a group of pregnant and parenting students at Mesa High School in Arizona, when the school's yearbook committee and administrators included a two-page spread titled “I'm working a double shift.” Highlighting the pregnant and parenting students featured in the yearbook was a bold and ground-breaking move.
But instead of seeing the move as a positive one, many in the community were outraged.
“When you look at the pages at first, you think it is of a child development class,” one mother said. “But then if you look closer, you see the photo of the boy hugging the belly. I think that was unnecessary.”
This isn't the first time this has happened. Schools throughout the years have attempted to ban teen mothers from appearing in the yearbook, fearing that highlighting the “shameful students” would promote teen pregnancies.
And honestly, can I just ask, “Why all the fear?” Pregnancy isn't contagious, and in fact, teen pregnancy numbers are on the decline for the first time in decades. Pregnant and parenting teens are the first ones to tell you how hard it is and will surely never recommend the juggling-school-and-baby routine as the easy road. But why all the fear about admitting that teen parents exist?
There are many successful teen moms out there, some of whom I've highlighted right here on EverydayFamily, and having been a young mother myself (I had my daughter during college), I know firsthand the judgment and shame that comes along with early parenting.
And I'm here to say it's just not necessary.
Teen parents, young parents—they don't need more added shame. They deserve support and zero judgement.
And for heaven's sake, let them appear in their own school's yearbook.
What do you think?