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Uproar caused by pregnant students glorified in Mesa High School yearbook

Yearbook pages accused of glorifying teen pregnancy
Yearbook pages accused of glorifying teen pregnancy

A decision to publish two pages in the Mesa High School yearbook, regarding a generally controversial subject, has caused quite an uproar in Mesa, Arizona. The principal of the school, Jim Souder, has received several calls from angry parents over the yearbook's two pages of pictures and stories about pregnant students attending the school. Some fear the pictures will glorify what they regard as a mistake and make teen pregnancy seem more acceptable.

The Arizona Republic reported on the story earlier this week, “Pages 40 and 41 of the school's 255-page yearbook, Superstition Vol. 105, feature the photos and a description of how difficult it is to raise children and attend high school at the same time.” It was noted that the pages were titled, “I'm working a double shift.”

The story reports that some students, who are also opposed to the two adjacent pages appearing in the Mesa High School yearbook, are gluing them together as a way to make them disappear from their yearbook. Those students have said the pages are “Not appropriate for a high school yearbook.”

The Arizoina Republic reports Mesa Public Schools spokeswomen Helen Hollands as saying, “A yearbook is to commemorate the achievements of the students, particularly the senior class. Probably this would not fall into that category.”

The Arizona Republic published an editorial on the subject, titled “What those Mesa yearkbook pages forgot to mention,” in which they opined, contrasting the pictures with the “working a double shift” title on the top of the pages, “But fire is unpredictable, and words in this case are not equal to color photographs that depict the bright and lovely faces of children born to children. In one picture, a teenage boy is seen hugging the belly of a pregnant teenage girl. There are smiles on these pages. There is joy. And, yes, there is glamour.”

The Arizona Republic editorial focused also on the issue of public acceptance, perhaps as normal or acceptable, of teen pregnancy as opposed to it being viewed as an mistake. The editorial stressed, “But featuring pregnant teens in a two-page spread of photoes glamorizing a life-altering mistake risks normalizing dysfunction.”

The editorial listed many of the likely common consequences of teen pregnancy, including interruption of the mother's finishing of her high school education, likeliness to obtain welfare benefits, odds of living in poverty as adults, and being “more likely to have children who face significant behavioral and health problems.”

The editorial finishes by stating, “All of these bullet points are sirens sounded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and we can't help but hear them as Mesa High School tries to normalize teen pregnancy as if it were another activity, like chess club. How about some pages in the year book on the wages those unwed moms will be earning in coming years?”

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