MI School: No Baby Bumps in Yearbook

White Cloud Public Schools, about an hour from where I live, is forbidding two pregnant seniors from having pictures that show their bellies out of a ridiculous fear that this will “promote” teen pregnancy. Yeah, just like the other pictures are “promoting” stupid haircuts.

Deonna Harris says she was pulled aside this week by a yearbook staff member and told her photo would have to be re-taken because the previous shot displayed Harris’ pregnant belly.

“She said, ‘We have to re-take this picture.’ I was kind of confused and asked what was wrong with it, and she was like, ‘Well, the yearbook teacher told me you can’t have your belly in it so we have to retake it,'” Harris told WOOD-TV (http://bit.ly/10rUAhX ).

Kimberly Haney, who also is pregnant and not permitted to show her midsection in the White Cloud High School yearbook, said she “went to the bathroom and cried” upon receiving the news.

And the superintendent is either a liar or an idiot:

White Cloud Public Schools Superintendent Barry Seabrook said Thursday allowing the pictures to appear in the yearbook would be contrary to the state’s mandate that public schools’ sex-education curricula be abstinence-based.

“It’s our feeling … that (the photos) could very well be a contrary message to (the state policy),” Seabrook said. “We’re not saying they can’t have their photos in the yearbook.”

Uh, no. State law does not require abstinence-only sex education. It does require that if a school teaches sex ed, it has to include discussion of abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and disease, as it should. But even if it did, what the hell would that have to do with this situation? This isn’t part of a sex education class, it’s a picture in a yearbook. Seriously, fire this guy for being a moron.

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  • bornagainatheist

    Don’t you know a woman has to be punished for having sex? There it is for all to see. Will all the boys who have violated the supposed “abstinence-based” sex education be punished in some way by being ostracized? Didn’t think so.

  • gshelley

    Well, if the state policy is “don’t get pregnant while at school” then perhaps showing pregnant girls who are at school would be contrary to that

    Or something

  • gopiballava

    The superintendent seems to have grasped the core of abstinence only sex education very well: tell the students to be abstinent, and pretend that because of this education they won’t have sex.

  • steve84

    Because if a girl sees another one who is pregnant she will go “Awesome! I want to be pregnant too!”

  • Moggie

    Doesn’t abstinence-only teaching result in more teen pregnancies, anyway? So they should show more pregnant students in the yearbook!

  • Moggie

    On second thoughts, I suppose we should congratulate Mr Seabrook. He appears to be saying that abstinence-only sex ed is based on denying reality, in this case the existence of pregnant students. In that sense, he’s right, but I don’t think he’s supposed to admit it.

  • Abby Normal

    The superintendent isn’t just a liar and idiot, his actions are probably illegal. From an article on an ACLU web site:

    Pregnancy is the #1 reason girls drop out of school. Approximately 70% of teenage girls who give birth leave school. More than any other group of high school dropouts, girls who leave due to pregnancy report that they would have stayed in school if they had received greater support from the adults at school.

    Discrimination against pregnant students is strictly prohibited by Title IX – the federal law banning sex discrimination in public schools – but it is widespread nonetheless. Sometimes even the most subtle forms of discrimination can be enough to push pregnant teens out of school. Schools refusing to give excused absences for pregnancy related doctor’s appointments, teachers refusing to allow make-up work, counselors coercing students into substandard alternative schools, excluding them from school activities based on “morality” codes, disparaging, discouraging and disapproving comments from adults and students – all of these can be illegal, yet all occur and contribute to the high dropout rates.

  • Even if State law required abstinence-only sex education, that doesn’t require abstinence-only students. Anyway, doesn’t abstinence-only sex-ed actually encourage pointing out the “sluts” who get pregnant as an incentive not to have sex?

  • coragyps

    About fifty years ago in Arkansas, pregnant high school girls actually did not exist! It’s a fact! Girls would disappear from school, and show up back in town months later with a baby, but without ever being pregnant!

    Pregnancy was contagious in the olden days.

  • Ben P

    It could be worse.

    My fundie christian private HS expelled girls if they got pregnant.

  • anubisprime

    When image and ethical bankruptcy trumps reality and life…you will always find a Barry Seabrook without an ounce of integrity hiding in the cracks like righteous cockroaches.

  • garnetstar

    So the message is “If you are pregnant you will be publically shamed.” Doesn’t that provide incentive to have an abortion? Is that the goal of the principal and the school?

  • They’re disrespecting that very famous unwed child mother: Mary. Guess someone wants to go to hell, mmmm?

  • gertzedek

    Let’s be honest; they’re not concerned about “promoting” anything. They just want to continue living in their perfect world where abstinence-only sex ed works perfectly and teenagers never want to have sex. The idea that two teenagers could possibly be pregnant undermines their whole worldview and suggests that — *gasp* — sex-ed ought to reflect reality. So they sweep the problem under the rug, pretend that it’s not there, and they can keep pretending that they’re the source of all that’s good and right in the world.

  • stever

    The standard objection to any sex education, back in the days when the very idea of sex education in high school was scandalous, was “Don’t give ’em ideas!” This sentiment is obviously still alive. The pregnant sluts are obviously supposed to Do The Right Thing by dropping out, so that their presence does not contaminate the remaining Pure girls. Since the meddling Feds now prohibit public schools from simply expelling these girls, other tactics must be devised.

    BTW, the Blessed Virgin Mary was not an unwed mother. She just got knocked up by the Holy Ghost before her marriage could be consummated. None of that nasty sex involved. That’s what the pernicious Cult of the Cross holds up as the ideal of womanhood.

  • John Hinkle

    Did Bristol Palin get her picture in the yearbook? Or did she already graduate and it was no longer an issue?

  • BTW, the Blessed Virgin Mary was not an unwed mother

    Yeah, it wasn’t one of those “real rapes” either, or she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. (Of course I always assumed it was more like bestiality. A supreme being having sex with a mortal would be kind of like me fucking a bacterium…)

  • bahrfeldt

    Bristol had given birth before she graduated high school.

  • whirligig

    The rules clearly say one person per photo. You can’t start allowing exceptions just because one person is inside the another. Who knows what those kids would get up to in their photos with a precedent like that.

  • Of all of these “Holier Than Thou” assholes who are shamelessly slut-shaming these girls, how many of them lost their virginity AFTER they turned 18?

    Not too many… likely none, methinks, if normal human behavior applies to these hysterical prudes.

  • dickspringer

    Having to raise unwanted children is the appropriate punishment for violating the fundamentalist sexual code.

  • One of the first truly America’s novels, “The Scarlet Letter” addressed this very issue. Nothing much has changed since 1642 in Puritan Boston.

  • =8)-DX

    Hmmmm, didn’t I read somewhere that one can actually have a society where:

    1) children are properly educated on how to prevent pregnancy and STIs during their first sexual experiences.

    2) young people are not ostracised for the results of their sex lives (no more than for the results of their other activities – breaking legs skiing for instance)

    3) pregnant women of all ages were encouraged by the society around them to pursue whatever goal they have in mind, rather than being pressured and ostracised.

  • Of course the young men who impregnated the young women won’t be identified, nor their photos banned from the yearbook. No guilt or shame attaches to them.

  • Was there any mention of the babydaddies? Were they, like, sinful teens? RCC priests, fundie ministers? do we get to see them from the waist down so’s we can ogle their “daddy dangle”?

    I will defer to legal scholars on the subject of what MI laws re: Public School Sex Ed require of the the schools’ teachers, staff and administrators. However, can we all at least agree that some level of cognitive consonance is required of public school principals? and that this mofo is way below the standard.

  • To be fair they don’t show the fathers’ penises in the year book

    (or do they??)

  • scienceavenger

    I can see little has changed over the years. When my sister was a cheerleader at our small Texas high school in the mid 80’s, one of her squadmates got pregnant and took a trip out of town to get an abortion. Somehow this was discovered, and the school decided the appropriate punishment (because the abortion was just too fun apparently) was to kick her off the squad. My mother, town maven and knower of all things social, caught wind of this, and asked what was to become of the impregnator, who happened to be a star football player. The answer of course was nothing, to which Mom responded by threatening to out the father and make a public stink of the entire affair, after which the school officials decided that leaving the poor girl on the cheerleading squad wasn’t so bad after all, especially given the lack of visibility of the problem.

    FSM only knows how they would have reacted had she decided to remain pregnant.

  • caseloweraz

    The unstated assumption here is that neither of these women is married. I looked at the SFGate link and it doesn’t say, either.

    According to this site, teenagers in Michigan can get a marriage license without parental permission if they are 16 or 17, or older. (The site doesn’t say, but I guess it’s 16 for men and 17 for women.)

    Nationwide, the age of majority is 18 except in Nebraska, where it is 19.

    So if these women were seniors, they might well have been legally married. Of course, they probably are not, or there wouldn’t have been such an uproar. I’d just like to see it spelled out.

  • Synfandel

    Is an abstinence-based sex education curriculum like a sofa-based athletics program or a silence-based music program?

  • eric


    My mother, town maven and knower of all things social, caught wind of this, and asked what was to become of the impregnator, who happened to be a star football player.

    In an era where a private DNA test is probably cheaper than a good lawyer, this may (sadly) be the way to go. Insist on equal punishment for both parents, knowing that (a) you can in fact identify the father, and (b) our sexist society and school system will generally not want to punish the father.

    Its backdoor justice, but better than none at all.

  • Karen Locke

    Huh. When I was in high school back in the days of castles and dragons, yearbook photos were headshots. It was one of the worst photos I’ve taken in my life, and it didn’t help that my parents posted their 9×12 copy prominently for the rest of their lives.

  • cjcolucci

    Karen, you must be nearly as old as I am. Though maybe they had color photography in your day. Headshots, a perfectly sensible, if dull, policy that would have avoided the problem without maiing an issue of anything.