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Arizona high school yearbook feature of teen parents receives flak

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Two pages in an Arizona high school yearbook feature teenage parents and expectant teenagers. (Mesa Public Schools via Today.com)

Parents troubled by a two-page spread in an Arizona high school yearbook featuring teenage parents and expectant teenagers say it is inappropriate and could glamorize teenage pregnancy.

Two pages entitled "I'm Working a Double Shift" in the 255-page Mesa High School yearbook show teenage parents and parents-to-be and chronicle the difficulty of raising a child and attending high school, according to the Arizona Republic

The pages did not sit well with some parents and students who say the pages were inappropriate for a high school yearbook, the Arizona Republic reported, spurring parents to call the high school principal to voice their disappointment.

"It makes it look cute and 'I'm doing so great,'" parent Shelly Adams told 12 News in Arizona. 

"It's wonderful that they're still in school and they're trying to finish up their education, but at the same time it doesn't really convey the reality of what they are going through."

Grandparent Grace Edwards said the feature is at odds with how she raised her granddaughter, who attends the high school.

"My main message is wait. Wait for the right time, which would not be when you're in high school," she told 12 News.

High school yearbook staffer Austin Contreras told FOX 10 News in Phoenix that "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."

A spokesperson for Mesa Public Schools told the Arizona Republic that the images stirring debate do not reflect what the school district expects in high school yearbooks.

"A yearbook is to commemorate the achievements of the students, particularly the senior class," Helen Hollands said. "Probably this would not fall into that category."

She added, however, that Mesa High School is "100 per cent behind" the student parents and expectant teenagers and their academic achievements. 

Hollands said she does not think the concern over the pages will lead to changes over what can and cannot be featured in high school yearbooks. 

In an interview with Today.com, clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg said the yearbook spread can be a "teaching moment." 

"It takes a lot more than seeing a picture of kids with their parents to make someone want to have a kid," she said. 

"You can use these pictures as a talking point and ask them, 'So what do you think of these pictures?' And you can talk about the difficulties of raising a kid while in high school, with empathy and from the heart." 

What do you think of the spread? Is it appropriate? Why or why not? 

Tags: Arizona, Graduation, High School, Mesa, Parenting, Pregnancy, Reaction, Teen Pregnancy, Yearbook

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