Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Embarrassment vs. Responsibility

After reading the post Yearbook Panic, Brown Bags & Underwear from Bellringers by mybellringers, I began to wonder how much is the school and her teachers supposed to be responsible for?

She shows a video from “the CNN link about the girl from Florida who went to school sans underwear, sat in the front row for her club group photograph and now appears to have pulled a Paris Hilton-Britney Spears-Lindsay Lohan shot for all eternity in the 2009 Sickles High School Yearbook …Mom now wants the school to quit handing out the yearbooks, confiscate the ones already passed out and reprint the entire book minus the offending photograph.”

This whole situation has me thinking of so many questions. These are questions that obviously have no answers but open a whole can of worms.

Yes, I feel terrible for this student but what was she thinking? And if you know you aren’t wearing underwear, shouldn’t you NOT sit in the front row? What responsibility does she have in this situation? Should she have to pay for the yearbooks to be reprinted? Do you remember those elementary school class pictures where you always had some boy with his fly unzipped? Maybe it was the classes I was in, but it seemed like we always had one in our picture.

Who is going to pay for the cost of the yearbooks to be reprinted? They could raise the price of the yearbooks (which is already ridiculously overpriced in my opinion) but is it fair to punish everyone for this girl’s indiscretions?

What if a girl showed too much cleavage? Who determines what is too much? What if a parent saw their daughter and felt the picture was offensive? Do they have a right to ask for the entire yearbook to be recalled and reprinted?

If the school doesn’t stop passing them out, is that considered pornography? Is it any worse than this sexting that everyone is talking about? Should photographers now have to ask for all people not wearing underwear to stand in the back row? Should there be an announcement now that for all photos, underwear must be worn? Would this be considered sexual harassment?

I don’t know what the solution is but I haven’t been able to think of any that would make this whole fiasco better. Will it eventually lead to the extinction of yearbooks? I’m not sure how the outcome to this will be totally successful. What do you think a viable solution would be for this situation?

Original image: '232: Hiding from the Hidden. Salvation via Angst.' http://www.flickr.com/photos/41534655@N00/440869941 by: sascha


TJ Shay said...

Very interesting post. I truly feel sorry for the yearbook advisor (my wife is one also).... It would be virtually impossible to catch every possible indiscretion in the yearbook, but I know it is a constant effort and challenge. (Talk about a thankless job!!!!)

Anyway, it is possible for the yearbook company to produce a replacement page that will stick over the offending page. Not a perfect solution, but perhaps the best.

siobhan curious said...

What an interesting conundrum.

I don't believe the school should be held responsible for this incident. If the parents would like to pay for the reprinting of the yearbooks, maybe they could work something out with the school. However, if the girl has not been taught a) the purpose of underwear and b) the dangers of wearing a skirt and sitting with your legs open, whether or not you are in front of a camera, these things are not the school's responsibility. The whole situation is unfortunate, but if it is to be solved, the girl and her parents will have to be the ones to find a solution, I think.

Miss Cal.Q.L8 said...

Live with it. The girl knew what she was doing when she did it. It's embarassing yes, but you can't completely control other people's actions.

The replacement page sounds like the best idea but I'm sure that's expensive as well.

Heather Loy said...

I so feel for the yearbook adviser - no, you can't catch everything. I'd recommend a sticker for the photo - cheaper than a replacement page as the only cheap solution. But I got to ask, who is going to turn in their "spoiled" yearbook? Most of the teens I know would find the "mistake" too funny and would love to have it in their yearbook. And I agree, it's the girl's fault and the school shouldn't be held responsible for the girl's bad decisions. Whether the girl meant to expose herself or not, she's going to regret the incident somewhere down the line.

loonyhiker said...

@TJ Shay: I would think a replacement page would only make people more curious about what is underneath. It would accent it more than not. I couldn't be a yearbook advisor because it would drive me crazy!

loonyhiker said...

@siobhan curious: I am kind of leaning the way you think. Why hasn't anyone taught this girl basic dressing rules?

loonyhiker said...

@Miss Cal.Q.L8: I think the girl knew what she was doing too. I can even imagine that she has had problems with dress code rules.

loonyhiker said...

@Heather Loy: I'm with you. I think it would be impossible to force students to turn their yearbooks back in. We had a newspaper issue that went out that discussed birth control methods. The principal recalled all papers but it was impossible to get them all back.

Mike J. said...

Nice post. If there's someone to blame in this issue, it's not the school or the publisher, but the student herself. It's a strange and disturbing behavior to act like that. I mean, come on!

loonyhiker said...

@Mike J I think she made some poor choices here and unfortunately I don't see anyone coming out a winner here.