Speak Outs
Speak Out
Can schools refuse to publish a senior photograph for the yearbook?

Feb. 2, 2012

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

The yearbook committee at Durango High School in Durango, Colo., is getting a lesson in the First Amendment.

Seniors at the high school are allowed to submit their own senior photographs for the yearbook, and then a committee of five students reviews them. When aspiring model Sydney Spies submitted her photo, the yearbook committee rejected it, deeming it too racy for the yearbook.

Spies submitted another photo, but it, too, was rejected, and instead of submitting yet another senior picture, she has decided to fight the decision.

She is fighting the school, claiming that it is unconstitutionally censoring her photographs and infringing on her First Amendment right of free expression.

The First Amendment in school is tricky because several Supreme Court cases have decided that while students do have certain free speech rights in school, they are considerably restrained compared with their rights outside school.

But the state has the Colorado Student Free Expression Law, which protects student journalists in school from administrative censorship.

But is this a case of administrative censorship? The review board is not composed of school officials, but students. So the case could be made that this is an issue between students and that the administration has nothing to do with the rejection of the photos.

On the other hand, the five students were given their authority by the school administration, so one could argue that they are serving as the school administration in some small function.

And is the photograph a form of legitimate expression or could it be considered obscene? The Colorado Student Free Expression Law states that students are allowed to exercise freedom of speech, expression and the press as long as it is not in a manner that is obscene, defamatory under state law, or false.

Miki Spies, Sydney’s mother, said to CNN, “She tells me that she has grown tired of seeing all the boring pictures submitted, and she wanted to do something different.” She went on to say, “There’s something wrong when people can’t express themselves in their own yearbook.”

What do you think?

Should the school publish the photograph? Is a senior picture a form of expression? Is the censorship coming from fellow students or the administration? If you were a judge presiding over the case, whom would you side with? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Mr. Hannah stroudsburg jhs
I do not think the school should put the photo in the year book. For the seniors it is a privilege to have a photograph they choose to be put in the year book,and if they decide to put something inappropriate in the school can take it out. It is a form of expression but you can show expression in different ways then clothes. You also don't want every one to remember you as the bad person. I think that the censorship is coming form the students acting as administration. If those students approve the inappropriate picture they can get in trouble. I would side with the school if I were a judge

Jabro/Creekside High school
I think if the photo is inappropriate for school the school should be allowed to make the decision of whether or not to publish it.

Yes I believe that schools can refuse to publish a senior photograph for the yearbook. I think this is fair if is deemed to go against the rules of the school, considering the yearbook is for the school. Although it is a form of expression that you decide what to wear, it should be pretty self explanatory that you should wear something that is considers to be appropriate, and that you should've able to wear it IN school, for it to be considered to allowed into the yearbook, because it has the same principles. Everyone from your class will be able to see the photo, as well as their families and acquaintances that may see it as well, and it would be quite frowned upon if there is something overly inappropriate or revealing that is there. The yearbook is a memory of the group of people that were apart of your class during the year, so the memory you have of them should be a presentable one, which is rightfully determined by the school.

Rudyard, MT
Mrs. Campbell/North Star
I don't think the school should publish the photo, it may be a form of expression, but it should also be something appropriate. I don't think that you would even want a photograph like that in the yearbook. Everyone in your community would see it. The school obvisiously knows that because they don't want that photograph to be published, since it is making a bad reputation for the student and it would be a bad reputation for the school as well if they published it. People might think the school encourages such behavior and would have an impact on the school for bringing in students.

Sidney, MT
Mattie Steinley
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
I think that the school has good reason not to post the picture. The year book represents the school and everything and everyone in it. The picture should have to follow dress code of the school because it is representing the school. Senior pictures are a form of expression, but if you want to show a “sexy” photo, you should do that on your own time and place. The school has a right to depict what is shown in their year book.

Sidney High School
Harmonie Hampton
Mr. Faulhaber
I see the good and bad side to this argument, but my belief is that there are certain lines that you just shouldn't cross. The photo she is trying to get into the yearbook is being rejected not only because its racey but because it the school probably wouldn't prohibit the outfit on the actual school grounds. Sure she is expressing herself and the photo is fine to hand out to her friends and family, but its just going into a school yearbook. Why would there need to be a "sexy" photo of yourself in a school made picture-book? I don't see a reason that it should be allowed in the yearbook.

Stroudsburg Pennsylvania
Mr. Hanna sjhs
No because it there choice what goes in the year book. Senior picture can and can't be a form of expression.the sensors comes from the administration. I would side with the school.

Vivian Cabral
Mr.Jabro/Creekside HS
I believe that the school should be allowed to reject the photo. If the students on the yearbook staff felt that the photo was to racy for the yearbook than I feel the right choice was made. The school gave their students the privilege to choose their photo then they probably expect the students to be responsible and choose a photo that is appropriate.

Stroudsburg pa
Mr. Hanna/ stroudsburg JHS
Yes because if a student takes an inappropriate picture than the school can have the right to not allow wit to be in the year book.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe schools should be allowed to refuse a photograph only in the right way. For example, I think the pictures that are being submitted should be first in first serve. If you are a senior and would like everyone to see your photo that's ok. But I feel there should not be a ton of photos clumped all together in the year book. The school should be able to pick and choose on us few photos to choose. This also could help the juniors and sophomores to show the different styles and photographs, if they draw any interest to senior pictures in their upcoming years.

Murrieta / Ca
Mr.Jabro/Creekside High School
I believe that the school should publish the photo. If she is not sending an innapropriate photo to be submitted then I believe it should be published. Senior year is the most important year and the year that most students blossom in and actually get into the school spirit because they are near the finish line. I believe the censorship on this photo of this girl is coming from the admin not the students because the admin had guide lines to follow for the picture that needed to be submitted. If I were a judge presiding over this case I would side with the young lady because she doesnt want to have a boring picture for her last year book picture she wants to make it fun so when she looks back she knows that she got a chance to make the best of her senior year and not have to fight the school to put her senior picture in the yearbook.

Murrieta California
Stephanie Folston
Mr.Jabro Creekside High School
In my opinion the school should publish the photograph. I mean how many times do you look at your yearbook throughout the years. Usually the only time you look at a yearbook is when your signing and later after high school. Yes, senior picture is a form of expression and she thought it was the best way to express herself. The censorship is coming from the administration because they wanted the student to follow by their rules. If i were the judge presiding over this case i would side with the student because as long as it is appropriate. For example as long as the student has clothes on like a bikini, shirt, pants,... etc.

Rudyard, MT
Mrs. Campbell, North Star High School
Yes, I agree that schools' can refuse to publish a senior photograph for the yearbook. Schools' already set out restrictions that limit a student's actions or "freedom." Restrictions include the use of appropriate language (no cursing or swearing), dress code, right to bear arms (go ahead, chuckle), etc. This is to ensure that no other student's rights are infringed upon, so that all the students should be on fair and equal grounds. The committee did not reject the photo in spite of Ms. Spies, but rather to prevent an uproar of offended viewers. Their decision was not a haphazard one. There are many different levels of obscene, but in a school-related circumstance, the bar is at a zenith. Yes, the senior photos can be a form of expression, but there are reasonable limits. The Spies would not be the only individuals to own that yearbook, their rights conflict with the rights of others so the censorship belongs to the students, staff administration, and viewing community.

Belleville, New York
Jamez V.
Miss. Colby, Belleville Henderson CSD
The picture in my opinion should be allowed as long as it complies with dress code and other school codes of conduct. So, for example, as long as there are no drugs, gangsigns, etc. and her skirt is the right length and she is showing the allowed amount of cleavege, why can't the picture be allowed? She is within the rules and the students that decide what pictures are allowed should not be able to hinder the choice unless it breaks some sort of the code set by the school, because they were chosen by the administration they should be complied to have there decision follow the rules. My final verdict: allow it if it's within school code.

Irving, TX
Malcolm 5 Nimitz
The school should publish the photo that the student submitted, because is was the picture she thought was the best way to represent her. The senior picture is a form of expression, and should be covered by her First Amendment right. The censorship is coming from the administration, because they selected those students to represent the administration's wishes for which pictures to use. They should be covered by the Colorado Free Expression Law, and let the student journalists be more open to which pictures they allow. If I was a judge presiding over the case, I would side with the student. I think that as long as the picture was appropriate, it can be used in the yearbook.

Rudyard Montana
Aron King
Mrs. Campbell
No the school should not publish the photograph. The picture is a form of expresion but in a school there a limit to what you can do. My school has a handbook which does limit what can be done in the school and how you can dress and act. So this school may have something similar but the yearbook is for anyone to see and reflects the school. The sensore ship is coming from the administration but they have a right if they beilve that the picture is not appropriate for the school. So if I was a judge presiding over this case I would side with the school. The picture may be inapropriate and the fact that the student is fighting it shows a little disrespect for their elder administration which has provided there time to give them an education.

I am a member of the yearbook staff at my school, and have helped decide not to put certain pictures in our yearbook because they were deemed inappropraite. I think it would embarassing to submit an inappropraite picture in the first place. Why would you even try? The school has the right to deny a picture, if it violates their dress code. Even if the school had a lenient dress code, why on earth would you want to have your whole school remember you based on one inappropraitephoto that is published in a book and purchased by your peers?

Belleville/ New York
Miss Colby/ BHCS
I believe that schools should be allowed to see the pictures before they are put into the yearbook so that they aren't inappropriate.

Montgomery/ TX
B. Anthony
Metzger/ MHS
As a member of a High School Yearbook Staff, I don’t believe the First Amendment right was violated at all. If I was given that photo to review to put in my school’s yearbook I wouldn’t allow it. Its far more provocative and sexual then what needs to be put in yearbook. it’s a privilege to be able to turn your own selected senior photo for the senior section pictures, and it the editors job to edit the book and its photos to make sure the school reputation isn’t at fault for anything in the book. The photos were not simply ‘a way of expressing’ oneself, it was far too racy to be put in the yearbook, and I believe that the editors opinions should be trusted.

Lauren T.
If the picture was appropriate for the yearbook and it was rejected, then I could understand using the right of the First Amendment. But, since the photo is obviously not approriate for the yearbook, she should not continuously put forth obscene pictures that other students would not want to see. There is such thing as going too far and pressing your luck with your rights.

Montgomery, Tx
Rachel T.
The first amendment does allow us the right to speak and express ourselves in what way we choose, but in the case of what is appropriate to put in the yearbook, I do believe the school has the right to make that decision. They can deny anything that does not comply with what is in the student handbook and/or what is viewed as indecent. The students do have the right to send in pictures of themselves but if it is denied because it is inappropriate in any way, the student should realize that, accept it, and send in one that is acceptable for the yearbook. Not continue to send pictures that are denied each time. The student should understand what is viewed as inappropriate by the school's review board and to stop sending similar pictures.

It all depends upon whether the picture is appropriate or not. The senior picture is not a form of expression. It is simply a picture a formal one at most. If censorship is occurring it is probably coming from the administration.

Montgomery, TX
The school isn't allowed to publish any type of photo containing any type of inappropriate material. Said material inclues: nudity, drugs, alcohol, sex, gang related symbols, etc. The five students that were in charge of reviewing the photos clearly felt that Spies photos weren't acceptable to go in their yearbook. As a senior in high school, myslef, the dress-code rules rarely ever change, and if they do, everyone knows about it because something obviously happened to change the dress-code. The students have full right to send in pictures that express who they are, but they can do so in an appropriate way. The school is right and they can deny the photos they seem not fit to go in the yearbook.

belleville, NY
colby/belleville henderson
yes they should, ONLY if the picture is inappropraite meaning, nudaty, drugs, alcohol, etc. People shoudn't be allowed to wear a bathing suit, etc.

Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I think that schools have the right to refuse to publish a senior photograph for the yearbook. If the picture is inappropraite then it should not be allowed in the yearbook. It's a yearbook, not your facebook page.

Sidney, MT
Mr. Faulhaber, SHS
If you have unappropriate pictures of yourself, save them for your boyfriend. The schools dont want to have that in their yearbooks and i highly doubt the students to either.

Sidney, MT
Mr. Faulhaber
if you have school book restrictions and rules on whats approptiate and whats not then you can deny someone. but if you don't have rules then you can't

Mr. Lammers/Mount Sophia Academy
The school has every right to reject pictures submitted for the yearbook. The pictures in that book not only are representing the people in them, but they are representing that school itself. If someone wants to express himself/herself, they can do it in a variety of different places. If a school's preset policies reject a picture, then that person should respect the school's decision, and go somewhere else.

Sidney, MT
Mr.Faulhaber, SHS
I believe seniors deserve to have their picture published as long as it is appropriate by highschool dress-code standards.

Mrs. Campbell/ North Star
Before i make a judgment i feel like i need to view the photo this senior is trying to turn in. I feel like the level of inappropriateness would help me decide on a fixed opinion. But as of now i will imagine the worst and side with the school and say that this case is considered obscene. If the school is rejecting the photo then i believe that the photo should't be shown. Considering the photo violates the school policy then there shouldn't be photos of it around the school in the first place. The photo isn't considered an expression it is just an attempt to bend to rules a little bit, any student in their right mind would know whats expectable of their high school and whats not expectable. Considering the fact that she is a senior she knew her photo wasn't expectable in school. So in conclusion i agree with the school. 

Rudyard, MT
Mrs. Campbell
I think that schools should be able to deny publication for pictures. The schools are the ones that are doing the publishing so they are they ones responsible for what goes into the yearbook. If a picture is explicit or graphic it obviously doesn't belong in a school yearbook. It's not like a person could give a graduation speech that contains a large number of swear words or other inappropriate language for a school. The whole freedom of speech has a limit, obviously. If a person who was trying to "express themselves" wanted a nude picture of them published in the yearbook it would be shot down in a heartbeat. This whole dispute against the school refusing to publish a picture that they think is explicit or inappropriate is ridiculous. Sometimes "rebels" should just follow the rules that everybody else follows. 

Rudyard, MT
Mrs. Campbell-North Star Schools
I believe that a picture is a freedom of expression, but at the same time it is open to interpretation by other people. You also have to remember that not only the students look through these yearbooks, so they aren't only for the students, they are also for the parents, grandparents, community members and faculty. That being said, since it is a school setting, if the yearbook staff doesn't approve of the picture they should be able to decline that picture from the yearbook . Senior pictures allowed in the year book should follow a standard, that way everyone has the same rules. If your picture doesn't follow those rules or standards, you don't get to put that picture in the yearbook, simple as that. This way it is fair for everyone, and your senior picture is still a way of expressing yourself but in manner viewed appropriate by your peers and adults alike. 

Rudyard/ Montana
It all depends. Since the skirt was really short and the top was real small and revealing the school has the right to deny it for the yearbook. It is just like all schools dress codes. That is also a way of expressing.

Rudyard/ Montana
Mrs. Campbell/ North Star
I feel that it depends on the school policy on what is decent. If what she is wearing is considered "indecent" at her school, then it should not be allowed into the yearbook.

Havre, MT
I think that the school is doing a good thing.

Rudyard, mt
K.c. Wheeler
North star
A picture tells who the person is in the photo. The censorship is coming through the students. Miki spies should be allowed to have her photo in the year book. Her photo is expressing who she is.

Rudyard Montana
Aron k.
Mrs.campbell northstar
No schools should not be able to refuse to publish a seniors picture. The point of a seniors picture is to have a picture that will allow you to be remembered by others when done with high school. So the senior has a right to have whatever picture of themselves within reason that they want to be remembered with. It's not up to the school to say what picture that they can or cannot have its up to that student. So no schools should not be able to refuse a seniors picture.

Porterville, CA
A picture is a form of free speech, as it expresses who you are, just like how what you wear is a way to express your sense of style. It's how you portray yourself, and it is a form of art. The first amendment protects free speech, and thus, it must also protect any other form of expression, artistic or otherwise. Only in cases in which publishing the picture would break the law, such as due to copyright laws or it were some form of child pornography, should there be any reason to deny the publishing of the photograph.

Porterville, CA
Their should be standard on to what kind of photos the students can send to the yearbook staff and if the students don’t meet does standard their photo can not be published in the year book. A senior picture is not a form of expression it is just showing how you have grown up over the years. It is hard to side with anyone since the picture is not visible to me.

Porterville/ CA
I believe that freedom of expression is valid for this argument, but at the same time, when you expressing yourself, other people take their perspectives the wrong way; in conclusion it will start a controversy. If someone wants to put a picture of them with a weapon, or them showing parts of their bodies that their supposed to be covering, what would people think of that person? Things would stir up by conversations about that person and in the end the person get’s their consequences for their actions. In a way if they do allow freedom of expression in senior photographs, the price will be paid based on what they put in their picture.

Porterville CA
I believe that if five other students thought the photos were to racey then she should not fight against them because the could possible be really innappropriate. Even if the censorship was comming from the administration the photo should not be allowed because someone could possibly be affended which will cause not only a problem for the student but with the school.

i think it would be depending on the picture. THough if it is too showy or could affend people then yes they do have a right to deny the picture. Thats like saying what if a picture come through with a kkk costume they would have to accept it cause they cant deny it. THough cases like that would have to get denied. Thus, It depends on the picture in some cases they can get denied.

Miss colby belleville henderson
If she wants to pursure a future in modeling that I belive that she has the right to publish it as long as its not pornographic. Relity is that she should be able to post it becasuse she has worked in school for a long time ( Pre-K ; Kindergarden, 1st grade to 12th grade). Like I said as long as its not porographic then it should be fine.

Belleville/New York
Miss.Colby/Belleville Henderson
I dont believe that the school should have rejected the picture. Yes, I understand the school has a dress code but, in reality, she would only be making a fool of herself if an issue were to uprise. Let her express herself the way she wants to and if someone has a problem with it later on, let her fight her own battles.

Washington, NJ
Katie G.
Mrs. Rokosny/Warren Hills Regional High School
I do not believe that the school violated this girl's First Amendment rights. The school is allowed to set a dress code that the students must follow or face punishment. If the student in question was wearing something that violated this dress code, then the school has every right to decide to not publish the photo. The yearbook is an extension of the school itself, and the school's reputation could be in jeopardy if it publicizes a photo that could be deemed racy or inappropriate. Yes students do have rights while in school, but they are limited. A school has the right to implement a dress code and the picture of a student in a yearbook must follow that.

I do not think the school should publish the photograph.The school has a reputation to keep up with.People can express them selves freely but they have to use common sense and learn that there are restrictions ,codes,rules.

I don't think the school should publish the picture. It is well within the rights of the review board to refuse a picture because they must decide what is appropriate. I do not believe that this picture is a “form of expression” as described in the First Amendment. The Colorado Student Free Expression Law may protect journalists in schools but it excludes false or obscene content and a photograph that has been rejected by other high school students does not fit the “freedom of expression” rule. This censorship by Sydney's own peers is necessary to keep the yearbook appropriate, after all, the yearbook represents the entire school. If I were a judge in this case, I would side with the review board while acknowledging that their decision was based on a propriety and a knowledge that anything displayed in their yearbook would reflect their and the school's judgment.

Michael U
I believe that the school should not publish the photograph, because the students did not follow or obey the instruction on how to summit her photo. By doing something that made it too racy for them to take it. Instead of her to apologize or plead with the school, she was fighting claiming that the unconstitutionally censoring her photographs and infringing on her First Amendment right of free expression. She should not have gone that far, because it was her fault.. Nobody reviewed he or her own, when the submitted. But she chose to review her's... she did not follow ,obey the instructions that was giving. Instead of her to apologize She went on challenging the school, wanted to do things in her own way. Yes a senior picture is a form of expression. She can find another way to express herself with a more appropriate photo for her yearbook, by submitting another picture that is good, appropriate, not a picture that is inappropriate. I most definitely side for the yearbook committee and the school if I was the judge of the case.

I think it depends on how bad the picture actually was. If it was as racy as the article made it seem, then I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to take it off. Maybe it's because I'm used to just seeing our senior pictures and how they're all the same, but I don't think your senior yearbook picture is where you should be trying to look different. I don't know about her, but I want to look back at my senior picture with pride. If in 20 years I look at my senior picture and I say to myself “what was I thinking?!” then I know I did something wrong. That might have been the case with Sydney Spies. Not only was she going to have to live with that picture the rest of her life, but if it was really as bad as it seems then kids at her school would probably start talking about her. Not only students, but parents would also talk about her. There could even be parents who would get upset about the picture. They could also take it to the school and make them take the picture off. Then that would start something even bigger. In the end it could have turned into a big mess. There's just no telling what could have come out of it.

If the picture was too racy, then I believe that the board of students or whom ever is in charge, should have the right to decline a racy photograph. It may seem as if they are putting a limit to her freedom of speech, but when you are in a school there are limits. Censorship is highly important in education. What would schools be like if they would allow everything, it would be a disaster. And if I was a judge in this case I would DEFINITELY take the school side. They have every right to limit students actions, they have to worry about everyone's safety, education and differences. In school you can't look at something one certain way because there are thousands of kids with different ethics and morals. The school is only trying to be careful and fair.

Benson AZ
Mr. Sorensne
Yes they can. If ther person or persons are wearing clothing that have advertisements for products or slogans or inappropriate words that are not supported by the instatution they should be allowed to senors those materials out either by editing the picture or by not using to it uphold the respectability of the school.

Benson/ Arizona
Sorenson/ Benson High School
Yes, the First Amendment might apply here, but it’s kind of an unwritten rule that you choose an appropriate photo for the yearbook. I know that in my community, if anyone of us were to choose a photo like that, people would dislike it. It’s your choice if you want people to veiw you ing that type of way but most of the parents that i know of would not want to see any one that looks like a floosey that is going to their son or daughters school. Students should fallow the dress code and that means that the school is not able to put your picture in the year book becuase you are supossed to fallow the dress code even if you took the picture your self your still wanting to submit it to the school.

Benson, AZ
I think that the student should be allowed to put her photograph in the yearbook. She is right about her first amendment rights. Though it may be a racy photo, it is what she wants put in regardless of what others think. If it is too racy, in later years she could be regretting what she had done looking back in her yearbook 50 years from now. She will learn what she had done IS racy yet it is too late to fix it.

Benson AZ
Ashley Cope
Benson high School
As an editor for my high schools year book I know what kind of position the yearbook committee was in, our school has an official senior photographer and because of that we do not get to pick our photos unless we pay $250.00 for our own senior page. Senior portraits are meant to express that student and tell something about them it is freedom to express herself.

Irving, Texas
Fatima S
The school did the right thing in not publishing the school photograph because it was inappropriate. If the student would have abided by the school dress code, then maybe it would be a violation of her rights. A senior picture is an important picture that a lot of students and family members will see. The picture must be elegant and abide by all the school rules otherwise it may get rejected. I believe that these are fair rules. The school and the students obviously want to protect the students rights, but there are extremes that they are not willing to comply to. One of those extremes is to post a picture of a barely clad student in their schools yearbook. The school has the right to set the rules because without that right everyone would be complaining about all the rules and various restrictions.

Bradley / Nimitz
The school should not publish the photograph. They have the right to accept or reject a photograph that is considered to be inappropriate or distasteful, like in her case. Senior pictures are a form of expression but let's be real....In our society, everyone has different perspective on viewing things and tend to easily judge others based off of what they see without knowing the actual story behind the owner's choice of doing something --- Sydney's case for example of wanting to “stand out”. To be honest, when I came across her picture on the website, my judgment of her was that of a negative one. The censorship clearly is coming from the administration, and I don't blame them because if they let this go then other girls will think it's okay or make a trend out of exposing themselves and use the excuse of just “expressing” themselves. If anything, she violated the dress code to begin with! If I was the judge, I would've just said “Classy not trashy!” and give Sydney a reality check. Bad reputations start with things like these!

As a leader in my school, I understand the position that the yearbook committee is in. I believe that the yearbook committee made a decision that they felt would fit best for the school, and that decision should be understood and respected. Whatever reason it may be, Spies’ photo wasn’t appropriate enough to be in the yearbook and the yearbook committee was just simply following the guidelines that they were provided by their advisor(s). Although Spies may feel like the yearbook committee’s decision is unconstitutional since her photo is a way to express herself -- which it definitely is a form of expression -- she can find another way to express herself with a more appropriate photo for the yearbook. All in all, I’d most definitely side for the yearbook committee and the school if I was the judge for this case.

In my opinion, the school should not publish the photograph. I feel like during the more recent years, students have taken advantage of the underlying meanings behind the constitution to get their way in school. For example, there was another Supreme Court case dealing with a girl who thought she should be able to wear facial piercings to school because it was part of her “religion.” Even though some may argue that Sydney's photos should be published since her photos are a form of “expression”, I find constitutional rights outside of school different from constitutional rights while on school grounds. Sure, Miki Spies, Sydney's mother, takes her daughter's side in the case, but what would other viewers who want to purchase the yearbook think when they come across such an obscene photo? The censorship is coming from her fellow students and not the administration. Even though the yearbook committee is headed by the administration, the students don't have the same rights , power, and authority as the administration, therefore, they can't be considered the administration. That's why I think the Colorado Student Free Expression Law can't be used in support of Sydney Spies. If I were a judge presiding over the case, I would side with the yearbook committee. If Sydney wins this court case, you can expect to see many other cases like her's coming from students claiming something their school did was unconstitutional.

Schools do have a right to refuse publishing a photograph in their yearbook. Yes, the first amendment allows us the freedom to express ourselves in the way we see fit, but when dealing with a yearbook, that freedom seems to change. Schools have a say on what can be shown in their yearbook. In my opinion, a senior picture isn't a form of expression. The only thing that could be considered a form of expression is whether the person in the photo is smiling. All seniors take the picture. I believe the censorship is coming from both the fellow students and the school administration. The school administration has put its faith in these five students for them to do what is right. I would have agreed with the students.

Aubrey G.
The school should definitely NOT publish that picture! I can't believe anyone actually had the audacity to try and get something like that published (excluding a prank of some sort). Most schools have a certain dress code, and I'm sure belly shirts are on the improper list. A senior picture is a form of expression, but there are just some things that aren't allowed to be expressed at school. I'm sure Miss Spies' picture is an accurate expression of her personality, but she just so happens to not be school appropriate therefore not school yearbook appropriate. Spies claims that she just wants to be different, but that isn't the case. I can think of hundreds of picture ideas that are unique and creative without being lewd and inappropriate. The censorship is coming from fellow students, but those students were appointed by the school, which means they are probably basing their decision on the school's rules. Not their rules, it's not them making the decision it is the law of the school. I'm sure there are many high school students who would love to put whatever pictures they want in the yearbook to show off a hot bikini body or washboard abs, but that is just not what happens at school. And the students who disapproved of Stacie's photo were well aware of that. I think it's clear what side I would take if I were a judge for this case; The thought of this even being a problem addressed in court is RIDICULOUS. School is separate from society in that the censorship is prominent, the yearbook is a part of the school, it is a reflection of school life and law. The fact that the disapproval of this obscene photograph is being so widely debated is absolutely ludicrous.

Nimitz/ Bradley
In my opinion, the school does have a right to have a say in weather the picture is appropriate or not. By that I mean all the way appropriate, not just borderline appropriate. I came across the famous picture on the front page of the Yahoo website, and from my opinion, the picture was not appropriate. In the picture she exposed a lot more skin than the usual and was only covering her chest by some cloth. I can see where Sydney might think that is expressing herself, but in the world's point of view it makes her look bad. The censorship is obviously coming from the administration, and it should, if not several girls will begin to expose themselves in year book pictures. There is a violation of dress code in that picture, so the administration did the right decision on not letting the students publish the picture. She should of just taken a nicer classier picture and moved on. After all, that is what should have been done in the first place.

Bradley/ Nimitz
I think the school has a right to say no if the photograph is showing too much skin or is just distasteful, but on the other hand I don't think that they should just automatically say “no” to the senior's pictures if they have the chance to submit their own. Yes, a senior picture is a form of expression, but since this is for the year book it can't be ANY picture, it has to be presentable. The censorship is mostly coming from a mixture of the two. The students might have the job to give the final “yes” or “no”, but they got the standards from someone(the administration). If I were over this case, my decision on who I would side with would depend on the picture honestly.

Despite the fact that the first amendment gives you freedom of press,speech,petition, etc, I don't think that the school should publish this “racy” photograph. Although Colorado did pass the “Student Free Expression Law”, it did state that if the material was obscene, or defamatory under state law it is fair to prohibit what is being presented to the public-in this case a high school. Instead of a “form of expression”, I think yearbook photos are more for remembrance and chronicling your experience in high school. I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to put a “racy” photo in their yearbook to be remembered by. At my school our yearbook department allows “senior pages” in which students are allowed to show their true colors, but even on those pages everything presented is decent and not obscene in any way. The fact that a group of students came to the decision that this photo wasn't appropriate for a yearbook says something. I'm sure that the administration would be far less accepting of certain photos the group of students reviewing these photos would deem appropriate. If I were a judge presiding over the case I would probably side with the students, just based on the certain facts I know about the case. However, since I don't know what kind of picture we're dealing with I can't exactly make a sound decision.

Mr. Sorensen/Benson High School
I think that the student is in the right she has her right to express herself in her yearbook its not up to there committee to tell someone there picture is to "RACY".

Rudyard, Montana
Mrs. Campbell/North Star
Being that it’s a much larger school that I go I could see how this might become an issue. At my High School, respect for yourself is something that everyone expects from you. This student should want to be respected and should have her own morals knowing that having a photo that was questioned wouldn’t be right to have in a school yearbook. Yes, the First Amendment might apply here, but it’s kind of an unwritten rule that you choose an appropriate photo for the yearbook. I know that in my community, if anyone of us were to choose a photo like that, people would frown upon it. It’s fine if you don’t have respect for yourself, but at least respect the people who are going to be reading the yearbook and for your school.

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