Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yearbooks Two

original article, but I copied it below if that link breaks.

I can understand missing a bird in a photo or a double-entendre inside joke in a comment. I can't understand allowing the student to do whatever.
"She told me it was their yearbook and they could put whatever they wanted to put on it," the advisor said.
If the article is accurate, the students knew exactly how the community would take it and did it anyway. They were making a statement and none of those in positions of authority did a damned thing.
"The custom has been for me to approve the cover, but it was not brought to me this year," she said. "It was . . . published sooner than usual, and now we are dealing with the aftermath."
I wonder if that principal expects people to believe that?

Some senior pictures were left out, there was a "hidden message" that no one managed to notice, the cover is either a cool riff on on a good Sunday or a dig at the school depending on who you ask and in what context, and everyone is now furiously distancing themselves from any critical thinking.

What could possibly go wrong?

Read more:

Yearbook stirs controversy

By KEVIN LEWIS Herald Editor

"Time Well Wasted."
That cover theme of this year's Plainview High School yearbook along with a page containing a vulgar, hidden message from two students have triggered a fire storm of controversy and resulted in the principal calling it "an embarrassment" and issuing a plethora of apologies.
"There (are) many issues with the yearbook . . . that I am currently addressing," Principal Lisa Kersh said Friday.
Among them is the "Time Well Wasted" theme, apparently taken from a song by country music singer Brad Paisley with cover artwork of a melting digital clock inspired by surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
"If you look at that cover it's saying school is a waste of time," Kersh said. "That's how people would naturally perceive that."
While the theme of the yearbook, which is supported by advertising from local businesses, reportedly was meant to be a play on words and another way to say "time well spent" and was not intended to be negative, it didn't come off that way to many parents, teachers and even other students.
"My initial reaction was dismay that the students felt that way, shock that the phrase was allowed to be put on the cover and, honestly, as a teacher I was insulted," Marcie Featherston, who teaches math at PHS, said.
Fellow PHS math teacher Kelly Shackelford said she was "shocked and hurt" by the cover.
"I and other teachers work our tails off to give these students the best education that we can possibly give them, and at the end of the year all we have to show for it is a yearbook stating that it was a waste of time," Shackelford said. "In a position like this one, if you are going to print something negative that is going to be part of the school from this time forward and it can't be erased, make sure that it is the opinion of everyone you represent, not just a few.
Another teacher, Janet Cunningham who teaches English at Estacado Junior High and whose son Mark is a senior at PHS, also feels the theme is inappropriate.
"As educators we should be uplifting," she said. "I think the title is indicative of what a lot of parents are worried about in our district right now."
Featherston said yearbook sponsor Nicole Jackson told her that the student-inspired theme is how the yearbook staff feels about their time at PHS "because most teenagers feel like school is a waste of time and do not realize until later in life that it really is not a waste."
Featherston said she also spoke with two of the yearbook's student editors.
"They said they really did not feel that way. They were just frustrated that students can get all the way to graduation with little to no effort, skipping classes and not doing their work, while others work very hard to get there and they end up with the same diploma."
Featherston went on to say she asked Jackson, who did not return an e-mail from the Herald seeking comment, if "Time Well Wasted" was an appropriate yearbook theme even if students feel that way. "She told me it was their yearbook and they could put whatever they wanted to put on it," Featherston said.
That's not true, according to Kersh.
"The custom has been for me to approve the cover, but it was not brought to me this year," she said. "It was . . . published sooner than usual, and now we are dealing with the aftermath."
Kersh also was not buying the "deeper meaning" explanation, which may be supported by Dali, who felt that all time was wasted and time that has passed is gone forever and you cannot get it back.
"People look at things at face value," Kersh said. "If someone has to look up or Google a Web site to find a meaning, that's a problem. You don't put something with deeper meaning because the average person . . . isn't privy" to it.
"The front of a yearbook is not the place to do that."
Featherston agreed.
"Personally, I felt that it was an inappropriate thing to put on the cover since it does have multiple meanings, some of which are very negative and not representative of everyone's views," she said.
Student reaction about the theme appears to be mixed.
"I believe the students that made the yearbook more than likely meant well, but they really could've used a different phrase," freshman Briana Villarreal said.
Another freshman, Kourtney Bradshaw, said it's being blown out of proportion.
"I don't get why people are making a big deal out of this," she said. "I get everyone's point, but really, it's done and you can't go back and change it. Besides, in a way it was time well wasted. We think that school is a waste now, but in the future we'll appreciate it."
At least one student editor of the yearbook initially said he wanted to comment but changed his mind.
An even bigger issue, though, may be the hidden message found on one of the pages sponsored by two senior boys. The message is composed of the first letter in each line of the following narrative:
"Finally, after four years of aimlessly roaming these glorious halls
Under the brilliant guidance of our teachers we have learned so much
Choosing the high road, these four years have made us better people,
Kind and nurturing teachers ingratiated this establishment in our hearts.
Paragon of educational excellence, oh Plainview High School
Hail thee, the Alma Mater of our formative years.
So long PHS!"
"It has caused a lot of problems," Kersh said.
She said the two students said the message was coincidence.
"They said it was an accident that it lined up that way," said Kersh, who like the deeper theme meaning didn't buy that either. "No, it wasn't."
She said she didn't immediately notice the hidden message, "but one teacher who does a lot of anagrams caught it immediately."
Kersh said she's "heard it from parents, faculty big time and students. They're saying, ‘That is our senior yearbook, and it's too late to do anything about it.' "
Cunningham, the Estacado teacher, called it "crudeness in the lowest form.
"The annual staff will have some difficult decisions concerning whether it is worth letting individual students have their own pages in the future," she added. "I served as annual sponsor in another district, and I know that editing is a big job and responsibility. If this was an oversight, I really do understand. However, at the same time, there has to be accountability somewhere."
Kersh said she's "addressing the situation" and said discipline, which she cannot discuss due to privacy laws, is forthcoming.
"My apologies for this embarrassment to PHS and our faculty and students," she said.
And, if that wasn't enough, apparently some seniors' photos were left out of the yearbook.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours.
(Contact Kevin Lewis at 806-296-1353 or Become his fan on Facebook.)

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