• No funny faces in yearbook!

    Date: 12.29.09 | by Judge Tom.

    To help “break the ice and get comfortable in High School”, freshman Charlie Patton made a face for her high school yearbook. The photo was taken in August, 2009 with her mother present and agreeable with the shot. Fifteen year old Charlie explained “I wanted to show who I am. That’s Charlie. I wanted to be fun”. The photo you see here speaks for itself. Charlie goes to James Madison High School in Texas.

    Charlie Patton

    Charlie Patton

    Just before Thanksgiving, Charlie was told that the photo would not be allowed in the yearbook. One administrator said it looked like it was gang related “because of how you throw up signs and everything.” No hands and arms are visible in the picture. The school released a statement that “since the yearbook represents the school and the students….students who make inappropriate faces or gestures….are asked to retake their photos free of charge.”

    Charlie claims she was not given the chance for a second shot. She wears the photograph on her school identification around her neck and on a T-shirt.

    In a case like this, where do you draw the line between making a face and making a threat of throwing gang signs? Is it possible for just a face  shot? Aren’t school yearbooks supposed to be fun with a balance of serious, less serious and goofy shots?

    See another case involving the school censorship of a yearbook photo.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • julie
      Tue, 29 Dec 2009 at 06:18

      seems a bit ridiculous given that there is nothing inappropriate in the picture

    • Matt
      Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 06:09

      Clearly the administrator in question has never been to an innercity much less seen a gang sign.

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