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Wheatmore High School Bans Teen's Yearbook Picture Taken With Baby

12:22 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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Trinity, NC -- A teen mother is upset with the Randolph County School system because they won't allow her senior yearbook photo to be published.  

Wheatmore High School said students could have their senior portraits taken with props of their choice. Caitlin Tiller, a student who graduated early to take care of her child, took her picture while holding her infant son.

A Randolph County Schools official said the picture would not be allowed because a baby in a school yearbook photo was not school related.

"This is ridiculous because people can bring their footballs, their musical instruments, their pets, they can have pictures taken with their siblings, but I can't have my picture with my son?" said Tiller.

Tiller said she was told the picture would be pulled just two days before the yearbooks were to be printed. She feels the yearbook photo guidelines were unclear.

The school offered her some other options. They asked her to provide another photo. Tiller said the school told her she could use the picture with her son, but it would have to be in the "Senior Advertising" section in the back of the yearbook.

Tiller wants the school system to embrace her accomplishment publicly. She didn't quit school, even when her life changed.

Tiller feels she's not alone; 43 percent of North Carolina teenage girls were pregnant in 2011, according to the state of adolescent health and helpful resources.

"I want everyone to see that if you have a mistake that you can overcome it. And I don't want to say Leelin is a mistake, because he's not," said Tiller.

A Wheatmore High School representative said the school stands by its decision not to publish the picture. And the spokesperson added, Wheatmore High School will no longer allow students to use props in their photos.

As for Tiller and her son, they recently celebrated Leelin's first birthday in April. Tiller is also in college and working a part-time job.

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