High school yearbooks. Remember those? A permanent record or snapshot of your high school and its inhabitants and what happened during one school year as interpreted by the yearbook staff (and generally one lone advisor). How many of us still have our high school yearbooks and either (1) laugh or (2) do a slow-burn over something ill-advised that got printed or left out or (3) both?
So the Times had this article about a yearbook from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in today's edition. Seems the kids got really caught up in being cool and making the yearbook cool and it offended some kids so much they asked for their money back. Now it takes a lot to offend most teenagers. They tend to take a live and let live attitude so as to not look "uncool". But apparently there were numerous references to drug use throughout, sex and drinking.
Yearbooks cost upwards of $40-50 so it's not chump change that gets dropped to buy one.
The principal said,
"Unfortunately these are very unique pieces of memorabilia," Brumley said. "There's no do-over on it."
And that's true. It's especially difficult if it is your senior year and the yearbook is a big disappointment.
He also said:
"I think (adviser Carol MacPhee) got a little too trusting and a couple things went in that shouldn't," he said, adding that she'll keep a closer eye on the staff next year."
The advisers have big jobs, it's true. But they are allowing a book to be produced that nearly every student will have and is the official record of that school year. It's important to read every single word of the book. In fact, it seems surprising that at least one adult wouldn't do that before it went to print. But it doesn't more often than you might think.
This reminds me of my older son's experience with his senior yearbook. The first thing that happened? About 25% of the senior class wasn't pictured in the senior section. How did that happen? Oh the school didn't bother to make it clear when the pictures were due (we proved this to the principal and adviser and they were mightily embarrassed because they were convinced that they had done everything properly). Then, they had the usual list of boys and girls who were "most likely" or "most". Now, my high school yearbook didn't have this; we did in the student newspaper. A yearbook is forever, a newspaper is a throwaway.
So, most of the time, these categories are either complimentary or funny. The measure should be for the editors to insert their names into any given category and ask how they feel about it. If it bothers them, then that category should go. So one category was "most obsessive". My son was the boy. Now this school had more than one adviser (although one teacher was named as yearbook adviser). My son had had most of the advisers as teachers and they knew he had a disability. But it managed to get past all of them and was printed. You can imagine how upset he was. But he was a good guy and got past it but he still doesn't like to look at his yearbook.
It's hard to believe that schools can be so lax on these issues but everyone assumes that due diligence is occurring. When we came to Roosevelt, I did speak to the yearbook adviser about these issues and she was clear about her oversight and what she would not allow or advise against. I'm going to hold her to that promise.