Student editors make call on yearbook photo

Picture of scantily clad senior can appear in ad section, though

A Durango High School senior who had her yearbook photo yanked has her peers and not the administration to blame, the yearbook’s student editors said Thursday.

“The administration really had nothing to do with it,” said Tevan Trujillo, a student yearbook editor. “It was us.”

Sydney Spies, 18, said Wednesday that administrators refused to allow her portrait in the yearbook because her clothing violated dress code. The photo shows Spies wearing a short yellow skirt with a black shawl that exposes her shoulders and midsection. Spies, her mother and several other girls protested the decision in front of the high school Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, the student editors, their adviser and the school principal met with a Herald reporter to clarify their positions.

The editors – Trujillo, Erin Edblom, Paige Shacklett, Alyssa Spencer and Brian Jaramillo – said they unanimously came to the decision not to run her submitted photo as a senior portrait.

They said the picture could still run in a section reserved for paid senior advertisements. Those ads usually feature “shout-outs” from friends and family and are located at the back of the yearbook.

Two years ago, yearbook staff made a similar decision when a male student wanted to run a picture of himself bare-chested as a portrait.

“If she (Spies) chooses to, the picture will run as her senior ad, not her senior portrait,” Trujillo said.

The editors said their decision was not because of dress code.

“We are an award-winning yearbook. We don’t want to diminish the quality with something that can be seen as unprofessional,” Jaramillo said.

DHS principal Diane Lashinsky said, “I was aware of the (student) editors’ final decision not to print the picture, and I support their decision.”

Spies, in a phone interview Thursday, said she still feels the decision infringes on her freedom of expression and believes the editors’ decision was influenced by administrators.

“The editors all turned their backs on me and changed their minds,” Spies said. “I really do feel like they were intimidated by the principal.”

Yearbook adviser Tammy Schreiner said the decision was the students’ alone.

“I can tell the kids all of the things that will happen if they run it and all of the things that will happen if we don’t run it,” Schreiner said. “But I know that if I personally pulled it, I would be as guilty of censorship as anyone else.”

Spies and her mother, Miki Spies, are scheduled to meet with Lashinsky this morning about the matter.

pblank@durangoherald.com

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