In horrible school news today, two pregnant teens had their photos removed from their yearbook at a Michigan high school because administrators felt that – get this – the girls’ baby bumps were encouraging teen pregnancy. Um, I’m sorry, what?!
The students, from White Cloud High School, are obviously really upset about this seriously awful form of pregnancy shaming. Junior Deonna Harris and senior Kimberly Haney told WOOD-TV about how their photos were pulled from the high school yearbook because their baby bumps were visible. A pregnant stomach in a yearbook?! Oh, God, no! (*sarcasm*)
Deonna explained how a yearbook staff member pulled her aside one day to let her know that she had to re-take a photo of herself that had originally been planned to go in the yearbook because her pregnant belly was visible. The photo itself was completely innocent – it was just Deonna posing with a few of her friends outside of the school. Kimberly had a similar situation – since her and her boyfriend were voted most likely to get married, they took a picture of a fake proposal scene. And since her pregnant stomach was also visible, that photo was also pulled and Kimberly was asked to take another one that didn’t so obviously show that she was pregnant.
The ridiculous reasoning behind this decision? School administrators feel that “showing off” images of their pregnant students encourages teen pregnancy to other students. White Cloud Public Schools Superintendent Barry Seabrook told the AP that “It’s our feeling… that (the photos) could very well be a contrary message to (the state policy).” This means that the state of Michigan has an abstinence-only approach (that is obviously working out REALLY well for them – just saying) and they felt that showing that two of their students are pregnant goes against that approach.
I can’t even begin to understand this logic. So you’re telling me that other teens are going to see pictures of a pregnant high school girl and think, “OMG that looks so cool. I totally want to be pregnant now!” I mean, really? I seriously, seriously doubt that seeing a photo of a pregnant girl is going to encourage other teens to run out there and start making babies. I mean, come on. They probably already see these girls in person every single day! How is a yearbook image going to change anything?
The girls are obviously devastated about being told to retake pictures where their stomachs aren’t showing and both are refusing to do so. I don’t blame them at all. This whole situation sucks, to put it bluntly. These girls don’t deserve to be shamed in that way simply because they got pregnant at a young age. And no one will ever be able to convince me that images of them being pregnant are going to encourage other teens to do the same. It’s maybe one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard and what this really sounds like to me is that the school just doesn’t want the pictures included in the yearbook because they’re worried about their image and nothing else.
If Michigan schools really want to keep their students from getting pregnant, maybe they should consider teaching them about safe sex and stop their abstinence-only approach. Telling teens not to have sex is not going to stop all of them from having sex. But informing them about the importance of condoms, birth control and other aspects of safe sex? That actually teaches them something very important that they need to know. Get it together, White Cloud High School.
What do you think about this story? Do you agree or disagree with the school’s decision? Do you think pictures of pregnant girls in the yearbook would encourage teen pregnancy? Tell me in the comments.