Yearbook controversy: Mesa HS dedicates 2 pages to teen parents - KMSP-TV

Yearbook controversy: Mesa HS dedicates 2 pages to teen parents

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MESA, Ariz. - Shows like Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant have been accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy by turning the young mothers into celebrities.

Now a valley high school is making national headlines after dedicating two pages of its yearbook to students who are also teen parents.

The two page spread documents the experiences of a few graduating students who are pregnant and have children.

Austin Contreras is on the yearbook staff.
   
"Student parents don't have time to go to homecoming and do all that because they have a kid, so they don't really get to be seen on the yearbook, so we thought it would be a good idea to put them on the page where they could be seen," said Contreras.

But the decision to feature the teens has sparked plenty of debate.

"It shouldn't be meant for this type of crowd," said a student.

"I just felt like it wasn't appropriate," said another student.

"I don't think that they should be put down or criticized for going to school and raising their kids," said a student.

School officials are not saying much, but the spread has sparked a serious conversation.

"Teens can receive a lot of judgment from the public, it can be from strangers, or even their own family members. When they don't have that support, the results can be detrimental," said

Ashley Butler is with teen pregnancy outreach services, a group that works with teen mothers.

"The stats for teens completing their education when they become pregnant are very low," said Ashley Butler.

"I think something like this is great to show that it can be done, it is not the end of the world. If they have the support, and the education, they can continue, and it is even more important now that they have a child that they are responsible for," said Butler.

In a statement, the district says; "Yearbooks are an opportunity to commemorate students' school activities and achievements. The material presented reflects choices made outside of the school environment. The feedback received about the subject matter will help refine the judgement used when determining content in future yearbooks."
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