Last year’s high school controversial high school yearbook-related Ethics Quiz in involved a comely female student who wanted to advertise sex;* this year’s edition is about the potential results of effective advertising.
Wheatmore High School in North Carolina told its graduating seniors that they should have their yearbook photos should include some object that would have personal significance. It was very kind of them to guarantee at least one Ethics Alarms-worthy donnybrook with this brain-dead idea: just imagine all the props students could have brought along to prime lawsuits and Fox News stories. A diabetic student might have posed with a syringe, for example. Or an empty martini glass. The “V is For Vendetta” mask. A Romney-Ryan button. A John Edwards for President button! A winning poker hand. A blow-up doll. A Samurai sword, or more edgy yet, a pressure cooker. Or, of course, a hunting rifle. I’m amazed that only graduating senior Caitlin Tiller thought of a prop that was guaranteed to set school administrators’ teeth grinding, but she certainly chose a dandy one: her baby.
The school rejected the resulting photo of the happy 17-year-old, unmarried mother holding her year old child, Leelin, as celebrating teen pregnancy and motherhood. It also cannily waited long enough to inform Caitlin that the yearbook was days from publication by the time she found out. Caitlin and her mother vociferously protested ( “They should be proud students are willing to stay in school graduate and make something of themselves and not try and hide it” —-Tiller’s mother, Karen Morgan), but to no avail.
Your 2013 Ethics Alarms Yearbook Ethics Quiz:
Was it fair and responsible for the school to reject the photo of Caitlin and Leelin?
and a Bonus Question…
Which of the items mentioned earlier ( 1. syringe, 2. empty martini glass. 3. “V is For Vendetta” mask. 4. Romney-Ryan button. 5. John Edwards for President button 6.A winning poker hand. 7. blow-up doll. 8. Samurai sword 9. pressure cooker. 10. hunting rifle ) would have warranted the school banning a student photo?
I’ll leave the Bonus question alone (extra credit for offering another possible prop-of-shame), but you will perhaps not be surprised to learn that I am with the school on this one. Society sends foolishly mixed messages about unwed and teen pregnancies already, and a student using her yearbook photo to proclaim her pride in single-motherhood would indeed appear to be teen pregnancy advocacy. See? She’s happy! She graduated! She has an adorable baby! You can have one of these adorable living dolls too!
“Don’t get pregnant before you’re legal, married and have a degree, but if you do have a baby, we’ll be glad to let you display it like it was your winning 4H project!” makes no sense, not that the whole “bring a prop” plan was much better.
* (You Sydney Spies fans can see her latest Facebook photo here.)
Graphic: Daily News