Facts of Life or Morality Issue: Should This Year Book Photo Be Published?

When this photo of Hannah Talbert, 17, was posted on Instagram, she somehow became the focus of a debate over First Amendment rights.

Why, you ask?

Her selfies were chosen to be part of a spread in the Surveyor; Mount Vernon High School’s yearbook. This would not normally cause a stir, but these selfies were of her very pregnant belly.

“We wanted to do more diversity in the yearbook instead of the classic ‘homecoming’ stories,” said Anderson Bonilla, editor of the Surveyor.

The principal of the high school later called both Talbert and Bonilla to her office to say the pregnancy photos were NOT allowed to be published in the yearbook.

Some may think that publishing the photos might be a step in the diversifying direction of our changing world, while others believe that schools should not be supporting the idolization of teen pregnancy idolization due to moral issues.

This ongoing debate whether to publish or not is one that has caused some social media backlash, and as a result, some schools may be reconsidering their yearbook policies.


What do you think? Should these types of photos be published in a highschool yearbook?

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Comments (34)

  • Interesting debate. At first it seems like — NO WAY?! But then you have to say…teenage pregnancy is a reality that highschool aged kids see daily. Wondering if this is the parents just trying to “protect” their kids a little longer. Even though by the time you get a yearbook you’re 17 and off to college anyway!

  • Interesting Rachel because my thought process was actually the opposite. At first I though why the hell not? But then I started to question if this is a smart idea. I don’t know the answer to that.

    Mommy Outside
  • People shouldn’t be making a big deal out of this either way. It’s kind of a , “does this really matter?” event.

  • It’s a mom posing for a selfie, what’s wrong with that?? Her child will be happy to see those moments later on.

  • I remember when I was in high school and girls being pregnant. It still goes on today…very sad! They need to focus on their education so their future will be a brighter one. Protection would be the best choice then to bring a baby in the world that the parent is not at all ready for.

  • While I wouldn’t want to ‘encourage’ students in getting pregnancy so early in life, if a photo could do that, I think that if they were already pregnant, them seeing this photo could show them that it’s not the end of the world, and you can still stay in school and finish, even with being pregnant. You don’t have to be ashamed of it, and hide it. It is just a school year book. That was a big part of that students year. I was pregnant in grade 10. While I didnt flip through previous year books to gawk at the photos, if I did happen to, and saw this, it would have maybe made me feel less alone. That said, its a year book. Who cares

  • As a mom who was pregnant while in high school, I feel that this photo should be published in the year book. It would help encourage the mom to do better and show that she has support and she does matter.

  • Wow, I never once thought about this even being something requiring controversy!

  • Tricky issue, but eventually I would leave it up to the student the photo was of. Obviously she isn’t hiding her pregnancy, and if she is comfortable with the photo being printed in the year book then I would leave it at that.

  • Ok so I have mixed feelings for good reasons.
    For the “yes go for it” I say that this mom is pregnant while in high school, which has to be one of the hardest times to ever have to be pregnant. I was never pregnant in school, after I graduated yes, but not in school. But I do remember, and see today, all the hype and negative comments about those who were pregnant in school. They go through so much with their hormones, body changes, pregnancy side effects, etc. But they also have to deal with staring, rude comments, trash talking, verbal abuse, etc. This person is dealing with something that she will one day be proud she got through. And so will her child. So yes, I say publish it. You should be proud of your students for continuing using school while going through this.
    I agree with the person above who wrote that if they think a photo could cause more pregnancies….I think it’s ridiculous. It’s not for anyone else to comment on, but if she wants it in there to remember the struggle and strength of continuing school, then publish it. And it will show others that something as huge as a pregnancy and life change didn’t stop this mom from continuing school.
    On the other hand, the “don’t publish” is more for her safety and to protect her. I’d be weary of publishing that because I wouldn’t want people to look back and think of me as the sl*t as some people might, that was pregnant in school. There are plenty of other words people use to break people down about the choices we make and I wouldn’t want to have something like this to fuel the fire. Not that I would ever hear the comments but just knowing this pic would be there for everyone to remember, and for me to be made an example of, would be a definite no for me.
    But it’s really up to her and the school.
    I think they should all sit down and discuss this rationally and focus on both sides: positives for her and the school and the negatives for both.
    But let’s face it. There is probably NOT ONE SCHOOL out there, that does Not have a pregnant student, so publishing this is not going to be like “ohhh you are a bad school for having pregnant students” so really honestly, I say do it, unless she doesn’t feel comfortable.

  • I think in this day and age, this is a very appropriate photo.

  • I dont think its any ones business what she does , its her body and thats it

    Margo b
  • Kids have been having sex younger than their teens since I was in school 17+ years ago so this doesn’t surprise me. Plus, my first son was born on my 18th birthday so…. I don’t think that the school should be allowing it to be posted in the year book unless it’s the original “Class Picture”. I’m sure half the school probably has heard her story as it’s kind of hard to hide a baby bump but it almost feels like she’s being “shamed”, in a way, for being a pregnant teen? What was the picture for? An article/meme?

  • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with publishing it as long as it’s with her consent.

    Jessica C
  • Kinda seems like they are supporting teen pregnancy in high school instead of encouraging education. Don’t get me wrong children having children need support but common.

  • This is difficult. Though I dont encourage teen pregnancy, I wouldnt want to alienate those who are teens and pregnant.

  • Definitely a touchy subject. Teenage pregnancy is one thing, but making her feeling degraded is not the way to help a young girl out either.

    Debbie S.
  • I’m going to say no. And in no way am I saying anything negative about teenage pregnancy, I myself had my first child the summer before my senior year. However, I do not feel that the picture is appropriate for a high school year book.

  • They need to focus on their education so their future will be a brighter one. Protection would be the best choice then to bring a baby in the world that the parent is not at all ready for.

  • There is nothing wrong with the photo

    Monica Nuss
  • To much debating if it doesn’t concern you why but in.

    Nancy Burgess
  • I see nothing wrong with this photo. Definitely better then some I see and those girls aren’t expecting just dressed skimpy.

    Lee-Ann Sleegers
  • Let her be her. There is nothing wrong with the photo. Yes she is a pregnant teen however the pictures are nothing bad. So why not put them in the yearbook?

    Jeff Toplak
  • I don’t think so, but it is an unfortunate reality these days.

    Amberly Gordon
  • I don’t think a photo is going to encourage kids to get pregnant!

  • Its not a big deal

  • i’m not sure how i feel about this. on one hand it’s important not to ‘glamourize’ teen pregnancy but on the other hand it’s important to show the reality of their high school experience. guess i’m glad i don’t have to decide on behalf of a school district, ha!

  • I don’t think u should post your pictures for everyone to see keep them for yourself

  • It really is up to her

    Jennifer Lo
  • I also believe it’s up to her. But her being pregnant, that’s life.
    So she’s young, as long as she raises that baby right with love and has positive people in her life to support her, who cares!
    Go girl!

  • I’m not sure a pregnant selfie of her is necessary but regular photos of her at school, etc pregnant would be fine for the year book. A selfie by nature is attention getting and approval seeking.

  • I think this is a interesting debate. What I think tho, as a mother who was pregnant at the age of 16 and has had some experience with this issue, is that if it’s just a picture and she happens to be in it and is pregnant I think that is pretty acceptable. But to showcase a pregnant person just for the sake of showing off a pregnant person I think isn’t really a good idea because it’s kind of promoting pregnancy for youth in high school and I think that is definitely not a good idea because kids interpret things irrationally and without an educated decision. It seemed after I had my son that literally tons of girls even my old friends started having babies and most all of them aren’t even with the same boy/the kids father any longer and have more than one kid with different dads and I think that’s so wrong and you shouldn’t have schools showing these things off like it’s the cool thing to do. But if it’s like a group picture or whatever kind of picture, even if it’s just of the pregnant girl for a certain thing their doing I think that’s perfectly acceptable and in my opinion I don’t see any other reason for showcasing pregnant teens for all to see

  • I can see both sides of this debate. In a way, I don’t think it should be published because of idolization, but in the same sense, this pregnancy IS a part of this girls life, her high school years and no one can ignore that. This is a tough one, I think instead of featuring several photos, maybe one or two or crop them would be a good compromise.

    Rushell Tuggle
  • I’m going to say “no” to this one. There’s nothing wrong to post selfie pictures of a teenage mom on her personal social media site or friends blog or anywhere else except from a school correspondence or year book. Even if we are aware that teenage pregnancy is no longer considered a big issue, the school’s morality should always be a good example for every student.

    Ana Aquino

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