Tuesday, December 08, 2009

(Don't) Say Cheese!

Did you hear about Charlie Patton, the Texas high school student whose picture was excluded from the yearbook because she made a goofy face when they snapped her pic? Apparently her school - James Madison HS in San Antonio - has strict rules about yearbook photos and appearing too happy just totally crosses the line.

School administrators released a statement saying, "Since the yearbook represents the school and the students, the goal is to have every student presented in the best light. Students who make inappropriate faces or gestures or who do not follow the school dress code in their yearbook photos are asked to retake their photo free of charge." [As an aside, Charlie says she was not given the opportunity to retake the photo. Good thing, too, or there would have been no news story and, thus, no material for this post.]

I could perhaps see the point of a high school censuring obvious gang signs or an exposed nipple or some such thing from the yearbook, but deeming a silly face 'inappropriate' and unworthy of publication is ridiculous. The goal of a yearbook should be to celebrate and commit to posterity all the distinctly unique faces, personalities and talents that comprise the student body. That is only possible if students are given a little leeway to let their individuality shine through. (In other words, James Madison HS administrators should remove the sticks from their posteriors and find a way for Charlie's original pic to get in the yearbook.)

Related: Here's a page out of my freshman high school yearbook. Check out the second kid in the second row. (His name is - I swear I am not making this up - Charlie. Well, OK, it's listed in the yearbook as Charles, but I seem to remember that he went by Charlie.) His side-view picture choice was not censured by our school. Nevertheless, the school is still standing and, not only that, Charlie and the rest of us all turned out just fine.*

*Verification of this fact was attempted by trying to locate class-of-1980 Charlie via the wonders of Google. Amazingly he was nowhere to be found. I did find his brother, though (I think), and he's an architect, which is a pretty reputable profession, so I decided that was good enough for me to stand by my original statement. Fact checking standards in the blogsphere are pretty lax, you know.

1 comment:

Jason said...

This is a great site you have here. I found it from a friend's site. I have a blog myself which attempts to bring inspiration and guidance to people all around the world. I was wondering if we could do a link exchange so we can spread some traffic around between each other.