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Pregnant teens banned from school yearbook

by AMY LASSITER Staff Writer

Two teenage girls recently in a small Michigan town had their pictures taken out of the White Cloud High School yearbook because their pregnant bellies were shown within their portraits.

Senior Kimberly Haney and junior Deonna Harris were informed on May 14 that their portraits would be removed from the yearbook because they violated the school’s abstinence-based sex education.

Harris’ belly was seen in a full body picture of her sitting in a truck with some friends outside of the school. Since Haney and her boyfriend were voted “Most Likely To Get Married” by the senior class, Harris’ baby bump was visible in a portrait of him jokingly proposing to her.

In the pictures themselves, Harris and Haney did not hold or promote their bellies in any way. Each of the photos were completely modest and violated no rules whatsoever.

“It’s not like they were being risqué or anything like that. I think it’s wrong for them to be labeled as unfit for the yearbook just because their baby bumps were showing. The other students obviously already know that the girls are pregnant, so what’s the point? If the school board discriminates against Harris and Haney it’ll only make other students think it’s okay to make fun of them,” said freshman Brooke Fabricant.

Both girls believe they are being discriminated against by school officials and declined to have their photos retaken. Currently, neither students will be included in the published yearbook.

Superintendent Barry Seabrook feels that allowing the photos to be displayed would be a violation of state law. Although the state of Michigan does teach an abstinence-based course, the law does not state anything about yearbook photos.

“Even if the two girls made a mistake, they shouldn’t be discriminated against because of it. High school is supposed to teach us to be accepting towards others, regardless of the choices they have made. Abstinence is a good moral to have, but trying to shut students off from the truth won’t help them grow up as people,” said an anonymous student.

Angela Minicuci, public information officer for the Michigan Department of Community Health, noted that the state “strictly works just to educate students about abstinence.”

It is good to teach students to stay abstinent, but it can also be potentially harmful to shelter them from other aspects of sex education. When a school teaches an abstinence-based health course, students must rely on resources such as the media for information about sex, and this is what causes teens to be misinformed about protection against pregnancies and other important concepts.

“It’s extremely important to educate teens so they don’t risk becoming pregnant at such a young age. If we aren’t prepared when we’re in school, students will have a really hard time dealing with real world situations. If these girls weren’t properly taught sex education, it is partly the educators responsibility that they were unprepared. They shouldn’t be discriminated towards because of it,” said freshman Anshu Patel.

It may seem right to keep old-fashioned teachings intact, but if a student’s education does not ready them for the real world, it may be time to update a school’s curriculum.

Do you think the Kimberly Haney and Deonna Harris deserved to have their pictures removed from the yearbook?

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