TRINITY, N.C. – The picture of a teen mom Caitlin Tiller holding her son has been banned from the Wheatmore High School yearbook.
Last summer, the school invited seniors to include a prop in their senior picture that represents an achievement or something that best represents them. Students say the invitation did not include rules or requirements.
Students chose everything from baseballs, band instruments to family pets. Caitlin Tiller chose her son, Leelin.
“He helped me get to where I am today,” said Tiller who is 17. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.”
Tiller says since the birth of her son in April of 2012, she’s worked harder in school and graduated early. She started college in January and works more than 30 hours a week at a part-time job all while also being teenage mom. Tiller says she gets a lot of support from her family and Leelin’s father.
In April, just two days before the yearbook was to be printed, Tiller says school staff told her the picture was being pulled because it promoted teen pregnancy. Tiller says she believes the picture promotes responsibility and love.
“He has helped me achieve my goal to graduate high school and go forward with my dreams,” she said.
Randolph County School officials would not comment on exactly why the picture was pulled, except to say the yearbook should be all about the student not an extension of their family.
“She took responsibility,” said Tiller’s mom Karen Morgan. “They should be proud that the students are willing to stay in school graduate and make something of themselves and not try and hide it.”
Morgan hopes the school system will have a change of heart in the future and embrace those students who are proud of their accomplishments no matter how real they may be.
School officials say the decision is final and the yearbook is now being printed. Tiller could have submitted another photograph but she chose not to. Tiller said if the school isn’t proud of her achievements she didn’t want to be included in the yearbook.