Focus on students rights …–abc-news.html


At first, it looks like the man trampling on some student’s rights of self-expression … a young girl in Colorado is informed that the portrait she submitted to the yearbook will not be used because it is too racy.  IMO, it is not the most modest portrait I’ve ever seen, but I would hardly consider it over the line of good taste.

Student, mom and friends immediately come firing back at the school administrators … who are baffled.

It turns out the five students editors of the publication unanimously rejected the picture.  They feel that the picture would hurt the quality of their award winning yearbook.

That’s a puzzler.

On the one hand, “yearbook” is a students activity, and while not in all cases, in some cases the students invest a great deal of time to learn about publishing and what makes a top notch publication.  Just like the basketball team competes, these yearbooks get entered into competitions, and the editorial staff gets awards if they do a good job.  These editors sound like they want to do a good job.

On the flip side … the yearbook is supposed to be a service to students.  As long as students haven’t crossed the line, is it being arbitrary to decide some pictures make it and some don’t?  Also … at most schools, students purchase yearbooks, which may imply that if the customer is allowed to submit a photo, shouldn’t the customer be right (provided they aren’t doing anything immoral or unethical)?


3 Responses to Focus on students rights …

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Funny, I saw this story on a parenting message board, and the overwhelming consensus was “if my daughter went out in that, never mind got her picture taken, never mind sent it to the yearbook, she’d be grounded for the rest of the school year.”

    I don’t think it’s that bad, but I think the yearbook staff had a perfect right to reject it.

  2. Beth says:

    Haven’t seen said picture. They would let her submit a different picture, right? (She wouldn’t have to have a “shadow person” or “not pictured”?)
    It’s the editing staff’s prerogative to reject the photo, and that student’s right to not buy a yearbook and/or convince her friends not to get one either.

  3. teganx7 says:

    Yeah … I’m not sure what the legal issue here is, but still, it is the kid’s senior yearbook, and I think this may not be the best time to be picking a turf war over “its our activity and that trumps the considerations of the students body”. One of the reasons I posted this is because it is (to me) a very grey area … one of those rare areas that isn’t immediately caused by an administrator or teacher overreacting to something.

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