Not picture perfect - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Not picture perfect

LCHS senior unhappy with school's guidelines for yearbook photos

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Katie Richardson had plenty of ideas for her senior yearbook photo.

Like posing with her guitar, the Lake City High School senior said, to leave her mark as an artist.

"I love singing and I love music," said Richardson, 16. "I just wanted to have fun photos."

But her yearbook photo will feature the same aspect of herself as every other senior: Her head and torso.

That's not enough, Richardson argues. And some other students feel the same.

According to the school's policy for senior yearbook photos, seniors must only provide vertical shots of the waist up, face to the front, with professional quality resolution, no soft focus, and no props, animals or other people.

Richardson believes the policy limits students' ability to express their interests in their final school photos, she said.

"I saw all of the yearbook stuff before. All the seniors, you could tell the jocks were the jocks, because they had football uniforms and helmet. You could tell the musicians, because they had their guitars and trumpets," said Richardson, who has written a letter to the editor stating that the policy is new. "The head shot doesn't tell who you are at all."

But LCHS Principal Deanne Clifford was surprised to hear about Richardson's complaints.

The policy has been in place since before Clifford started working at the school in the mid '90s, she said.

Only recently there has been "better communicating" about the guidelines because the school is now sending information to parents through direct email, Clifford said.

"I think maybe when you have a policy and it gets communicated better, it comes to the forefront," Clifford said.

In the past, she acknowledged, some senior photos with props or animals have gotten in.

"Every other year or so, you'll find a horse head we missed," she said, adding that occasionally props were requested and allowed.

Animals and other people in a portrait shot can end up blocking a student's face, she said. It's better to have a blanket policy than try to draw the line at what animals are allowed.

The same for props, she said, as some objects can be distracting.

"We don't want to be the judge of an appropriate prop or an inappropriate prop," Clifford said. "I've had things like magazine bullets laying next to the person. It's having that policy."

The rules don't restrict students' individualism, Clifford said. As long as outfits aren't risque, kids can wear what they want, athletic uniforms included.

"We have a wonderful yearbook that covers every activity, and student life," she said.

She reminded that seniors can still have other senior photos taken, just not for the yearbook.

"Studios will do family shots, you can have those blown up for your home," she said, adding that she hasn't heard any other complaints about the photo policy.

Coeur d'Alene High School has the same senior photo policy. So does Post Falls High School, though the vertical shot must be from the shoulders up.

According to the Lakeland High School website, senior photos must be wallet sized and in portrait dimension. School staff said there was no restriction on props or animals.

Teachers in charge of yearbook could not be reached at any of the schools on Tuesday.

Richardson said she is waiting to hear other students' opinions before taking her complaints to school officials.

Sophomore Mark Turner shares her opinion about allowing props.

"It gives more perspective on what you're into," he said, standing outside LCHS on Tuesday.

Freshman Samantha Cheatham said she would like both props and animals in senior photos.

"It's your last opportunity to leave a good impression, and it's how everybody will know and remember you," Cheatham said. "It's so plain, just to see the torso and up, it's really plain."

Hunter Keller, sophomore, doesn't care.

"It's just a picture," he said, adding that his friends often post photos of his school activities on Facebook, anyway.

His friend, Angela Faranta, agreed.

"Why do you need to express yourself in a photo people will only look at once?" the Lake City junior said. "Why not express yourself with your hobbies, and the way you dress?"

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • mikeyu posted at 3:36 pm on Wed, Mar 13, 2013.

    mikeyu Posts: 1

    As a senior at lake city, i feel the same as Katie does on this subject. Before anyone can jump to grades or isat and sat scores, i am a 4.0 student, i took three years of Japanese, the 3rd hardest language in the world, and i am currently enrolled at the new KTEC academy. Now i know it seems that im just another whiny teenager, but consider this, i have a full time job, i have just put in an application to NIC for next fall, i own 2 vehicles, pay for everything myself because i moved out of my parents house when i was 17. I am a fully capable person, even being a student, and i know Katie personally, and she is 3.0 and above student, church goer and all. What we as seniors, not underclassmen, want is to be able to express our inner colors within a well defined guidline, but no props, no scenery that just does not allow us to be us. I played football, baseball, basketball, participate in rodeos, sing, play an instrument etc i don't want to be half naked and neither does katie, we just want to have our personality shown. Once i heard that i could not do that for my final high school year, i didnt even get senior photos taken because it wasnt worth the money or the effort. In a nut shell all we want is to be us, and we leave right after we graduate to escape from the overbearing, and non concerned people. All they care about is performance, we care about success as a person, morals, the ability to be understood, not how well our school is rated, or how our community cares about our test scores, So please back off, be quite and let us be us so we can succeed at life as a person.

  • IDJeepgurl posted at 10:02 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    IDJeepgurl Posts: 67

    Bob??? Are you a teenager or a sex offender?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:34 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Let me guess, you are in favor of tattoos and piercings in the work place too....

  • searcher posted at 2:52 pm on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    searcher Posts: 365

    Let me guess, you are in favor of school uniforms too.

  • Rationale posted at 12:55 pm on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Soooooo, the lewd comments and dressing like a prostitute are expressions of creativity and show they are "responsible?"

    Unfortunately, a few bad apples spoiled the whole barrel. The policy isn't the problem. Try placing the blame where it truly lies.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:26 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    You probably fight the dress code at work as well eh?

  • searcher posted at 8:22 pm on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    searcher Posts: 365

    When I was in high school, the yearbook was of the students, by the students for the students - primarily a memory book for seniors to commemorate a major rite of passage - graduation. With that in mind, why not let the seniors own it - cover to cover. If the high schools want a book of mugshots for future reference, fine - they can have it, but that does not mean the students should be prevented from expressing the same individualism, creativity and freedom that goes along with the responsibility of becoming an adult in America.

    The commenters here ridiculing this girl for standing up for her convictions remind me of the parents depicted in a movie where there was no senior prom because dancing was considered blasphemy and would lead to delinquency.

    My suggestion to Katie = keep fighting. Rally the senior class to use today's inexpensive digital publishing capabilities to create your own year book. Get some parents to help out, and hold some car washes or bake sales to help provide funds to keep the cost per book down. Take your own photos, do your own layouts and make something that tells the story of you, your class and your lives that you can look back on in 10, 20, or 30 years from now and remember.

  • Rationale posted at 8:13 am on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Then I suggest you actually look to why the policy is NOW being strictly enforced. Over the years, it wasn't enforced. Over the past few years, several students have been the cause of the shift.

    In fact, there is now another teacher in charge of the yearbook.

    Keep choking on your popcorn, because you are completely clueless.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:40 am on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    The REAL reason there is a mass exodus of our youth is because of those like the FAB4 and their stakeholder friends that ONLY care about profit on their properties and keeping those that are not of the "IN CROWD" in slave labor jobs.

    jen, well put.

  • jen posted at 12:55 am on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    jen Posts: 2 Seriously, I invite this poor deprived girl to pull her head out of the sand and be thankful for what she has: a first world education in a country that allows that possibility. p.s. no one cares about the yearbook about two minutes after graduation. Put your efforts elsewhere, hon.

  • truthful1 posted at 8:51 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    And people wonder why there is a mass exodus of our kids from the region as soon as they can possibly get out?

    Who can blame 'em? Let 'em get out and give the better part of the country a chance.

  • hayden_guy posted at 8:43 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    ....and what you are describing here has nothing to do with senior portraits.

    enforce/put into place.... if they were not being enforced before, it is as if they weren't there so it is putting them into effect. Same difference in this situation.

  • hayden_guy posted at 8:28 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    The article says nothing about "an outwardly gay student, who was also one of the editors, stole the teachers password and changed the yearbook after it was submitted. He was featured on almost every page, and he also made lewd caption comments. "

    ...still eating my popcorn.

  • Rationale posted at 8:07 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    So, heather,

    What's your solution? Especially since this isn't merely one person's a pattern of behavior.

    What about those people whose yearbook was ruined. Yeah, they get their money back...but their yearbook is no longer an item to remember their high school years!

  • Rationale posted at 8:05 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Perhaps you should learn to read, because I said it was being strictly enforced now because of those reasons. I did not state those were the reasons the policy was implemented.

    I love it when people who don't know how to read make comments like this.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:57 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Then you wonder why other countries are kicking our collective @R$E$ in labor, technology, and/or intelligence? Individualism and freedom is EARNED! If you want piercings, studs, gauges, tattoos,etc. you will reap what you sow. It is NOT my problem NOR my concern if you cannot get a job because of YOUR poor choices and the "PUBLIC" schools acceptance of YOUR "self expression". The school SHOULD be more concerned with you being a productive member of society.

    I stand by their decision.

    Work your way to the top. It ain't given to you baby.

  • my own opinion posted at 5:36 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    Poor Baby, Sniveling Brat.

  • hayden_guy posted at 4:13 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    I love hearing from people that had nothing to do with the policy saying exactly why the policy was put into place.
    /grabs popcorn, sits back to see what the next reason is.

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 3:47 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413


  • imanewt posted at 12:48 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    imanewt Posts: 15

    We encouraged our senior to PhotoShop his student ID across his chest. It is more representative of how the schools treat the kids today.

    VoxPop and ConcernedCitizen I assume that if a mistake was made in your yearbook they would have to start chiseling a new one.

  • heatherfeather posted at 11:36 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    heatherfeather Posts: 297

    Once again, another case of the "if one errs, all suffer" mentality which is destroying public institutions.

  • Rationale posted at 10:19 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Actually, this rule is being enforced strictly now because a few years ago an outwardly gay student, who was also one of the editors, stole the teachers password and changed the yearbook after it was submitted. He was featured on almost every page, and he also made lewd caption comments. Then, over the past few years, a few female students decided it was a Maxim photo shoot (or worse).

    It is selfish acts like these which ruin it for everybody. And it doesn't stop there.

    To the parents of these high schoolers (and to the chaperones and administrators), do you have any sense of decency? Apparently, that last LCHS dance was a "grinding" session so disgusting that it made Dirty Dancing look like the waltz! Or, as my neighbor's daughter put it, "It looked like everyone was having sex on the dance floor."

    And you wonder where dress codes and yearbook picture rules come from!

  • idaredneck posted at 9:38 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    idaredneck Posts: 100

    This rule was enforced due a student taking her senior portrait with her baby. An idea most parents did not like but now it is restricting the rest of our students. One bad decision led to ALL of our children to suffer.

  • Mac posted at 8:56 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Mac Posts: 79

    Quit the whining Katie and prepare yourself for the real world where there are rules about everything, ie. dress codes for work, smoking, conversing and even grumbling. Try protesting a company policy where you work by going to the local newspaper and see what happens to you. Good luck in the real world.

    PS; you are 16 years old, is that a wedding ring on your left hand ??

  • DeNiles posted at 8:46 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    I'd think that our well paid and highly educated school folks would be more circumspect in applying modern media technology. Literally they could do more, for less and keep everyone happy. But it sounds like they're either too dumb or too stubborn, or both. Regardless they're not being very inspirational to a group of kids who actually do look to them for inspiration. Per chance this reflects why they are unsuccessful at the job of education in the 1st place?

    My youngest graduated HS in 2003. In cooperation with the school (a private school) one of the media savvy fathers produced a 30 minute DVD for the seniors. It was highlighted at the graduation ceremony and it was far more compelling than any book of 'wanted' photo's. There's no genuine reason to limit this major juncture in these kids lives when other options are so accessible. One key lesson we try to teach kids is to think outside of the box. So - do as we say, not as we do? The parents already pay for this service. Why not offer them all something better? Is the school awaiting a meteor to extinguish such arcane concepts?

    Oh....... this is only news because it is another example of crusty school administration. Instead of taking advantage and making something good out of a really simple issue they treat it as a pointless discipline problem. Instead of demonstrating to these students how to advance with technology they ply the easy road of repetition and probably pay more doing so. Are they even using color film or is that too advanced?

  • WilliamWMiller posted at 8:26 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    WilliamWMiller Posts: 106

    this is America tootsie, quit grumbling and start your own yearbook.

  • mister d posted at 7:47 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Sad policy to say the least. My kids had an exciting yearbook to look through and the senior pictures were interesting to look at, they shared who the child was. Now they want to go back to the boring old pictures like when I was in high school, books no one ever look at or remember. Give the senoirs a chance to express themselves for their yearbook picture.

  • dasher posted at 7:02 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    dasher Posts: 205

    I graduated in 92" and most of us seniors had different types of photos. Guys with their cars, girls with their horses or other pets...They say this changed in the mid-90's...but I have friends from later school years that were allowed the same ability of expression. There was never any issues with inappropriate photos getting in. The fun part of being a senior was being able to have photos that were so different from the rest of the school. During our last class reunion, those senior photos were used as a slide show. Looking back 10 or even 20 years, those aren't just high school pictures, those are memories of a major mile stone in life. She isn't being whiny, she is taking a stand against another rule that is really unnecessary. We should be encouraging our young people to think for themselves.

    Use old yearbooks which ever school has copies of as an example and work to get this rule changed back to the way it was. Making it to your senior year in high school is a big deal and it deserves to be commemorated as such. Our children are not sheep, and one of the wonderful things about getting educated is learning about yourself.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:26 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    You need to get over it Katie. This is your HIGH SCHOOL picture. School is to prepare you to be a productive member of society. Not your audition for the Torch Lounge. If you do not like the "RULES" go to a school that has the rules that you like. Even a minimum wage job such as McDonald's has a dress code. Are you going to fight that too?

    I would like to thank the school board for taking a stand.

  • CONFUSED posted at 6:17 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    CONFUSED Posts: 67

    Another in-depth, hard hitting journalistic story from Alecia. I'm going to go out on a limb and nominate her for an Edward R. Murrow award or a Pulitzer. Serioulsy this is front page worthy? Hey I have a dog that can chase a ball and play dead do you want to come interview me?

  • hansryan posted at 6:02 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    hansryan Posts: 1

    This is news? Uh, how are the school's ISAT scores? What is the star rating? Because one whiny teen doesn't like a policy, this makes news. Here's news: teens whine about everything. This is not important. How is this ONE. student's grades? Maybe she should worry about that.

  • voxpop posted at 4:52 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Ridiculous argument and anachronistic in today's digital era. It's the age old case of WHO decides what's acceptable or not. Self expression, to the point of pornography can easily be done on Facebook. School book photos are about what's best for everyone.

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard