Teen Mom Banned From Yearbook For “Promoting Teen Pregnancy”

    May 3, 2013
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

A young mom in North Carolina is battling her high school after administrators pulled her senior picture from the yearbook, saying that the photo–which was taken with her son–promotes teen pregnancy.

17-year old Caitlin Tiller says when she was told she could include a “prop” in her senior photo that best represented her, she immediately knew she wanted her son to pose with her.

“He helped me get to where I am today,” said Tiller. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. He has helped me achieve my goal to graduate high school and go forward with my dreams.”

Unlike many teen mothers, Caitlin has had the full support of her parents and her son’s father and, with some hard work and determination, was able to graduate early. She now attends college classes and works 30 hours a week, and is disappointed that the school chose not to include the photo she wanted to be in the yearbook.

“She took responsibility,” said Tiller’s mother, Karen Morgan. “They should be proud that the students are willing to stay in school, graduate and make something of themselves and not try and hide it.”

The school hasn’t commented on the matter except to say that a student’s school picture should be all about them, rather than including family members.

  • http://Yahoo Patriot Girl

    While I agree with her decision to not terminate the pregnancy due to her bad judgement, I think her senior picture in the school yearbook is the wrong place for this picture. Go to a studio and have a portrait made. Kids are at a very impressionable age in high school and this sends the wrong message. Maybe they should glamorize NOT having children, or even pregnancies, while in high school? Aren’t they teaching kids to make better choices? Shouldn’t abstinence be one of those good choices?

    • moya

      who’s to say that having a child at age 17 is a bad decision? she graduated, is taking college classes, is working, AND raising a child, so having a child early wasn’t a bad choice for her.

      • Ducky Solo

        The only reason she’s still floating head above water is the fact that she has family supporting her. Many folks are still quick to kick their kids out when they get pregnant. Being 16-17 years old is an awful time to have a baby, regardless of how much effort you’re putting into doing right by that baby. Using the baby as motivation to finish school? Seriously? Would she have not finished school had she not got pregnant? This world is jacked up because of stuff like this … it shouldn’t be “acceptable” or even given a nod to that she used her baby as motivation to do what she should be doing anyway. Should we give you a pat on the back for having a job? Maybe a cookie or a trophy? A school year book is not the place for pictures of your baby.

        • Gwen

          Um… I’m 31 years old, married, I have one toddler son, one on the way, and 2 stepchildren under the age of 6 from my husbands previous marriage, which left him a widower. I work 60 hours a week doing call center work from home, my husband works 50 hours a week outside of the home in corporate management. The only reason that we are able to keep our heads above water is because of the support we get from friends and family. We trade childcare with friends so that we can get time to ourselves, my parents take the kids on trips that we wouldn’t be able to either because of financial constraints or work obligations, his family takes them sometimes overnight so we can go visit them but still have time to ourselves, my family comes over to watch them so I can clean house, work extra, or even just have company to keep from feeling isolated (since being at home all day with kids can get lonely) or get some extra sleep. Most parents, regardless of their age, don’t raise their kids in a vacuum and support from other family members plays an important and active role in their ability to parent. In fact, a recent study showed that most parents primary daycare provider for their kids is a grandparent. So why on earth should we scold this girl for the role her family plays in supporting her parenting? So what if the only reason she can keep her head above water is because she gets help? Would we rather she got an abortion? Her parents kick her out, her boyfriend walk away, and she left without any support network at all, homeless, uneducated, no prospects, and with a child? How is that better?

          And I completely get where she’s coming from when she says her son is the inspiration to finish school, go to college, and build a better life for herself and their family. Sure, she’d have probably finished school anyway, but what she’s undoubtedly saying is that being a teen parent is hard and it would have been easier to quit school and reduce the obligations she had. But she didn’t. Not only didn’t she do that, she worked hard enough to be able to graduate EARLY. While her classmates were coming back from winter break, she was a high school graduate starting college. Her reason for pushing hard and working hard? Her son. Considering she’d have graduated later with her classmates and not attended college until the following fall, but instead graduated early and will be nine months into her college education by the time her peers are freshmen, it’s entirely appropriate and accurate to say that her son was her motivator. And again, good for her.

          No, I don’t get a cookie, trophy, or pat on the back for going to work every day. But when I put the pictures of my kids on my desk, say when asked that my inspiration for working hard and trying to advance my career, going back to school so I can upgrade my Associates to a BA, and flying across the country just for a job interview for my dream job (something my parents are helping me do, by the way, by watching the kids for 4 days and giving me some money to ease the financial burden of such a trip so I can still follow my dream) is my kids… Nobody tells me that I can’t talk about it, mention it, or take pride in it. Yes, I’d be working if I didn’t have kids, but I wouldn’t be working like I do if I didn’t.

          You think being a teen mom who had a child at 16, is still with the father of her child, gets support from her family in her endeavors and with her parenting, who graduated early and is enrolled in college while working a nearly full-time job, and taking pride in her accomplishments despite what many would consider the disadvantage of being a teen parent is what’s “jacked up” about America? Personally, what I think is “jacked up” about the situation is the implication that in order to be responsible, one should either get an abortion, or to have the child but shamed into never mentioning the child’s existence or role in the lives of his or her own parent. Here’s a news flash: Here’s guessing all her peers know of, have seen pictures of, or even been with the child. So what’s the difference if her son is used as a prop in her yearbook? Zero.

          • George

            Let’s look at this situation in a slightly different manner. What is this young lady celebrating, graduation or teen motherhood? Has she and the father of the child married? I too am happy that she did not abort her baby, however, she and the father of the child acted irresponsible.
            I believe this entire thing is about not being held accountable for her actions. Why not have her parents in the picture, (they are the supportive ones)? This is simply not the medium for a family portrait.
            Finally, if all of her friends and classmates know she has a baby out of wedlock, what is the point of putting it in the yearbook?

          • Gwen

            George, she’s celebrating what motivates her, which is what the administrators asked the students to do. What motivates her is her son. Is what she and the child’s father did irresponsible (ie having sex)? Absolutely and without a question. Has their response to the results of that poor choice been responsible, mature, and well-handled? Yes. She is and has been held accountable for her actions and acts in a way that is more reasoned and responsible then many people in a similar situation have been, or even people twice her age are. She had the child and took steps to be a responsible parent, and she’s succeeding at doing it. Are we to presume that we should punish her, shame her, punish and exile her child because she made the choice to have sex? I don’t see how excluding her from the yearbook is holding her accountable for anything. It shames her publicly for being a parent who acted responsible, not to mention it demeans her child to state that he is the reason she’s being excluded.

            Frankly, if she or anybody else wanted to include relatives or family members in their yearbook pictures, I wouldn’t object. We had a girl in our school who’s mother had lost a battle to cancer during her senior year. If she’d submitted her motivation to graduate was her mother and a need to make her proud and gave a picture of her and her mother as her yearbook picture, I wouldn’t object to that. Honestly, I find it more insightful and realistic then the people who stand with their basketballs, a favorite book, or even pets. One student submitted a picture while fanning a wad of money. But we exclude the mother and son because it’s offensive and glorifies being accountable after making less-then-great choices.

            If you ask the students to do something to express themselves, and they do it, you can’t complain at the results. Especially when what we’re talking about here is a mother and her son.

            What’s the point of having her picture with her son in the yearbook if everybody knew she had a child anyway? The same point it is for the quarterback to have his picture with him kneeling by his helmet and football. Everybody knows he’s the quarterback and he’s allowed to use that to define his high school experience. The teenage mother, however, everybody screams at her to be responsible and accountable… But they don’t want to see the product of it. It’s hypocritical.

      • Shonda Byron

        This is the dumbest comment I have ever heard of in my life. Teaching kids abstinence is the best thing you could ever do for this generation of kids. Teaching kids to make better choices for their life is GREAT! I hope the person said having a kid at 17, graduated from school, working, taking college classes and taking care of her kid is not a bad choice for her is ABSOLUTELY NOT A MOTHER! Such an IDIOT!!!!

      • http://msn icky schwartz

        the bad choice was, she gave birth to a bastard child. get married 1st. then start to have kids

      • Joe

        The fact that she has to depend on her parent for support says it a bad decision.At seventeen one is not cook yet to be a parent, hardly out of childhoood your self.. but the main thing is if you think you are ready then you must be able to stand on one own two feet.Adult behaviour, required adult responsibilty and being an adult one requirement is independence!! period

    • David

      I agree and in another interview she called herself a role model. Keeping her legs closed and telling people that 1 in 10 will graduate high school while standing at a podium in the auditorium explaining to would-be teen moms that if she hadn’t had so much support she would be on welfare by now, now that would be a role model, instead, she tells people “look at me, I made it, so can you”.

  • ShutupMoya

    Shut up Moya.

  • Debby

    The comment “she took responsibility”…yes, with the help of her parents and son’s father. But really, how much support can the young father provide. I think “taking responsibility” would mean doing what tons of other teens do…either not have sex or use birth control and those not getting into the situation in the first place. Also agree…go to a studio and get a portrait done. Babies don’t belong in yearbooks.

  • Ginny

    I was a teen mom too. However, I agree the picture should not be in the yearbook. Yearbook photos are pictures of Graduates. Soon we’d all have our favorite people in the photos with us. Moms, dads, our favorite aunt, our little brother and on and on. It should have nothing to do with whether or not folks agree with her decision to have a baby.

  • http://yahoo Michael

    the girl should be allowed to have her picture in the yearbook BUT without the child…the yearbook is supposed to be about graduating students…not their kids!!! Let her take another pic and put it in the yearbook….yearbook pictures are a big deal for many years to come…

  • Donna A.

    I agree with the school. It is promoting in school pregnancy. Getting pregnant and having a child while in High School is not a school requirement. So I say no pictures of her and her child. congratulations to her on completing school. I got married when I was 14, got pregnant when I was 15, had her when I was 16. I dropped out of school. I went back years later and got my high school diploma, not a ged, my actual diploma, It took me 2 years to get all 20 of my credits.

    If they were to allow her baby, what would be next? Having there parents sit in with them.. No..

  • QueenV

    Where in the school curriculum does it say that students can’t take pictures with their child?

    • Ducky Solo

      It shouldn’t BE in a curriculum — having babies is not taught in school and people shouldn’t be trying to include their babies in any school function or school related fringe.

  • Ducky Solo

    The only people giving thumbs-down are probably people who are in the same irresponsible shoes as the girl in this story — getting pregnant as a teen. A mistake is a mistake no matter how you dress it up or what the end result was … whether you’re a millionaire or not … getting pregnant that young is a mistake.

  • hazel ann tenia

    i do agree it wrong she got pregnant at such an early age but at least she owned up to her mistakes and become something off her self. it is err to human and everybody deserves a chance in life

  • Denise Steinwachs

    In reference to the comment where in the school curriculum does it say students can’t take pictures with their child? Probably doesn’t say that anywhere in the “curriculum” because it has nothing to do with curriculum.
    However, apparently it should say it somewhere in a school handbook. Most likely school officials thought it wasn’t necessary since most people would be able to figure out it wouldn’t be appropriate.
    As others have mentioned, senior pictures are for those in school that are graduating, not babies.
    Take your photo and display it proudly on your wall at home or office or in your wallet- not in a high school yearbook. I love babies and respect her decision for life, however we don’t want people posting pics with their moms and dads and grampas and cousins and all those others who “inspired them”
    Enough said!

  • Brittany

    I was agreeing about the baby not being in it UNTIL I found out they let people have pets. If an animal can be in it then let the baby be in it.

  • Lav

    Let’s stay on track here, the issue is the picture in the yearbook, not the early pregnancy. Yearbook is for students, not family members. End of story.

  • Margaret Foster

    The child is not graduating; she is not graduating because of the child; she is graduating in spite of the child. The child’s picture in the yearbook is inapprpriate. She is not being banned from the yearbook, the picture with her child is banned. Be honest and stop trying to start a brouhaha.

  • Shawn

    Your son is not a PROP.

  • christina brown

    Having a baby at 17 is always a bad decision. The reason why she was able to graduate and work is because she has the support(financial) of her parents. If you can’t fully care for your child WITHOUT any help from your parents, then no having a baby at ANY age is not good.

  • Mr. Fulani

    This young woman’s parents should be proud of her. Over the last 60 years I have known many girls who got pregnant in high school who persevered and went on, with the support of their parents, to success as students, mothers, and career women. Still, the yearbook pictures are of graduates and not their families. The school and the yearbook editors should simply have required her to substitute a photo of her alone.

  • brown

    Children are a reward from God. Despite this young woman’s good and bad decisions, she is celebrating her child. That’s the right thing to do, period. Young people make will make mistakes, but children are never a mistake. The fact that she is pressing on, learning from her mistakes and working to create a good future for her child and herself is exemplary for any teen. She does not seem to be promoting irresponsible sexual behavior, but rather that good things can come from our mistakes if we are willing to learn from them and respond by celebrating life.