A photo of a North Carolina teen mom holding her son has been banned from her high school yearbook because the school says the picture promotes teen pregnancy.
Since giving birth to her son Leelin in April 2012, Caitlin Tiller, 17, of Trinity, N.C., has graduated a semester early, started college, and found a part-time job that she devotes 30 hours a week to, all while being a teen mom. But that didn’t stop Wheatmore High School from banning her senior photo.
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Students had their senior portraits taken last summer and were encouraged to use a prop that best represented them — a band instrument, a football, a family pet — so Tiller brought Leelin.
"He helped me get to where I am today,"
Tiller told MyFOX8.com. "I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him."
But last month, just days before the yearbook went to print, school officials told Tiller her picture would not be included because it promoted teen pregnancy and the senior portrait should be focused on the student, not a member of their family.
Tiller was shocked and outraged. She claimed the birth of her son helped her get her life together and the photo represented responsibility and love.
"He has helped me achieve my goal to graduate high school and go forward with my dreams," she said.
Randolph County school officials told Tiller she could retake her picture without her son, but the teen mom said if the school isn't proud of her accomplishments, then she doesn't want to be included in the yearbook.
Karen Morgan, Tiller's mother, hopes the school district will eventually embrace students' accomplishments, even if society looks down on teenage pregnancy.
"She took responsibility," Morgan told MyFOX8.com. "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."
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