Photo flap earns DHS student trip to ‘Today Show’

Durango High School senior Sydney Spies says she’s bringing her battle over a questionable yearbook photo to the Big Apple.

Spies and her mother, Miki Spies, headed to the airport at noon Saturday to catch a plane to New York City, where they will appear on the “Today Show” early this week, Sydney Spies said.

The 18-year-old is rapidly gaining attention, though the deadline for senior portraits has passed and the student yearbook editors say they have made their decision.

Already, the story first reported by The Durango Herald has been picked up by other news sources nationally, and even internationally, including the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom, Huffington Post, ABC News and Denver news stations, among others.

In the photo submitted by Spies to the yearbook committee, she is wearing a short yellow skirt with a black shawl that exposes her shoulders and midsection.

While school administrators noted that Spies’ attire in the photo violates the DHS dress code, the yearbook student editors say it was their decision not to include the photo as a senior portrait for professional reasons.

Spies said the photo is a good representation of her personality and that by pulling it, the school is violating her freedom of expression.

Spies protested with her friends and mother Wednesday, holding signs in front of DHS, and her story has continued to spread over the last week.

“I don’t know how it got so big,” said Spies, who claims that a representative from the “Today Show” called her and her mother to make arrangements for them to appear either Monday or Tuesday. “They’re paying for everything.”

Spies is surprised at the widespread attention her protest is gaining, she said.

“I’m really surprised. It’s like international,” she said. “I’m really, really surprised, I didn’t think people would care this much about a little small-town Durango protest.”

Calls to confirm the “Today Show” appearance with NBC and KUSA-TV in Denver, an NBC affiliate, were not returned Saturday.