School photographer refuses to take bullies’ senior portraits
Taking a unique stand against bullying at school, Jennifer McKendrick decided she didn’t want any “mean girls” representing her business. Jennifer discovered vicious, sexual comments on Facebook by four seniors at an Indiana County high school in Pennsylvania. The names of the girls matched her list of clients for their senior portraits.
Jennifer, age 29, sent an email to the girls’ parents with a screenshot of their Facebook comments to explain why she was cancelling their appointments. The comments went beyond the typical bullying about a person’s appearance, clothes and hair style. Jennifer stated “I mean how could I spend two hours with someone during our session trying to make beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things. Realistically, I know by cancelling their shoots it’s not going to make them ‘nicer people’ but I refuse to let people like that represent my business.”
Jennifer also wrote on her blog about her decision. She didn’t name the girls since they live in a small town. “If I’m wrong, please speak up. I came across a page on Facebook that was created (by someone under a ficticious name) thats purpose is to bully, ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page.”
Instead of a negative backlash, Jennifer has the support of many who agree with her stand against bullying. In fact, the parents of two of the girls apologized to her on behalf of their daughters. We commend Jennifer for having the courage to stand by the victims rather than remaining a bystander. All of us can do something to end both traditional and cyber bullying. Jennifer’s message to all says it best:
“If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside…”