Pregnancy photos in yearbook cause controversy

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by Tanya Mendis

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyamendis

azfamily.com

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 7:13 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- A two-page spread in the 2014 Mesa High School yearbook highlighting teen moms and dads at the school fueled angry phone calls from parents in the district.

The section called "I'm working a double shift" features five different students who are parents or expecting a baby, and describes the challenges they face to attend school at the same time.

The pictures include students playing with children, reading to their kids, and one image of a teen caressing a pregnant girl's belly.

Parents we spoke to were conflicted about whether the students should be profiled in the yearbook.

"I don’t know that I would want it in the yearbook but by the same token they ought to have a little bit of credit for what they’ve done," Alice Merkley says.

Charles Stewart, a father of four, says if the content was used as a "teachable moment," he condones it.

"The more that we can draw attention to something and then we can give an opportunity to educate young people about the pros and the cons of this is absolutely the right thing to do," Stewart says.

The district acknowledges that it received a lot of negative feedback about the yearbook's content. When asked if they condone the material in the yearbook, Helen Hollands, a district spokesperson said: "the inclusion of specific content in a yearbook is based on the professional judgment of the adviser."

Hollands says the feedback they received will help the school refine judgment when determining content in the future.

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