Hannah Talbert thought she was being cute when she posted some provocative selfies on social media, which showed a large amount of bare skin. When staff at her high school found out about the “regretful” snapshots, she was shunned by administrators, so she retaliated in a way they won’t soon forget.
The 17-year-old girl, who attends Mount Vernon High School in Washington state, uses social media just like the other students, documenting their daily lives and sharing things they find important to them. Evidently, her “over share” was too much for the school principal, who said the online photos that Talbert printed and submitted for the yearbook showed too much and called them memories that she would probably regret later in life.
Talbert was pregnant at the time of the typical bathroom shots that many mothers-to-be take through various stages of their pregnancy. She’s now a teen mom to a 7-month-old boy, but she’s still living in the rear view mirror of her belly pics, originally posted to Instagram, that were immediately banned from the high school yearbook.
The student editor of Mount Vernon’s yearbook, Anderson Bonilla, encouraged such real life photography of seniors to have “more diversity in the yearbook instead of the classic ‘homecoming’ stories,” Bonilla told ABC News. Principal Esther Manns couldn’t disagree with that more, but Talbert had a special reaction to that later.
According to Talbert’s claim, Manns allegedly refused entry of the pics in the yearbook for showing too much skin and insisted that the teen would regret the photos being printed later in life. Talbert believes she was being targeted for being 17 and pregnant, assuming that Manns feels that the photos would glorify premature motherhood.
“I don’t think I’ll regret it,” Talbert told NBC 4 Washington of appearing in the yearbook. “That would be like saying I regret having my son, and I don’t.” As such, she’s decided to fight back the decision months later, by getting the Student Press Law Center involved to press for a teen pregnancy spread in the yearbook that includes her bare belly shots.
The Student Press Law Center announced in a statement that “violating student free expression rights in an attempt to deny the existence of teen mothers is harmful to the community, the families, and the students involved.”
The issues was never about printing pictures of pregnant students in the yearbook. It was the way Talbert presented herself that the principal had a problem with, by showing too much skin, which wouldn’t be allowed for any teen girl, pregnant or not. In return, she’s made this a civil rights issue to promote her own success as a teen mom who didn’t drop out of high school.
While the message is important and definitely a success to encourage and bring attention to in a yearbook, the same point can be made fully clothed. There’s nothing wrong with showing her baby bump like this on her personal social media page, but she can post the same inspirational message she wants to get across, alongside a cute pregnant belly picture for the yearbook, following the same rules that apply to all students.