NH citizens divided on whether local newspaper should publish high school senior photo of student with son - 335 citizens, 865 responses

Jun 04, 2015

In early June, Belmont High School received attention for refusing to publish a senior photo of Mackenzie Ranger with her son. School officials noted the decision had nothing to do with teen pregnancy, but instead reflected local newspaper Winnisquam Echo's policy of limiting graduating student photos to head-shots. Ranger's father disagreed and said the school will not publish the photo because they believe it promotes teen pregnancy. Based on responses to the question, “Should a local newspaper publish a high school senior photo of a student with her son?” Live Free or Die Alliance Facebook members seem divided on the issue.

A total of 89% of respondents answered the question either directly or with a concurrence, and of these a 60% majority said the local newspaper should publish the photo of Ranger with her son with 40% not in favor. Of the remaining respondents, 6% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 5% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 335 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 865 responses. 

For respondents of the majority opinion, many questioned why anyone would have a right to dictate to Ranger—or any high school senior—who she be in the picture with her. “It's her life and her right,” remarked one respondent. “She is a lovely young woman with a beautiful child. Print her picture.” Others applauded her determination, while some noted rules can be changed. One gentleman added, “The school policy can be adjusted. There's no need to be so rigid about it.”

Several respondents who said the school should not publish such a photo, however, took exception to the notion the girl’s status as mother should be honored. “Getting pregnant and having a baby while you yourself are still a child is not an accomplishment that should be celebrated,” remarked on respondent. Others argued that a rule is a rule, including one gentleman who said, “If that is the policy of the paper, then so be it. It's their newspaper, not mine, so I'm not going to tell them what to do.”

For those who did not provide a direct “yes” or “no” to the question, several commented on whether all facts were known related to the story. One respondent questioned the school’s position, as she stated, “The school is being hypocritical. Of course, it's about her son.”

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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