Students at Wheatmore High School in Trinity, N.C., were given the opportunity to pose with props in their senior photos this year; everything from baseball bats to beloved family pets were permitted. But when 17-year-old teen mom Caitlin Tiller posed with her baby, her photo was denied.
Tiller took the picture with her 1-year-old son, Leelin, only to be told two days before the yearbook was scheduled to be printed in April that her photos were banned. The teen is now claiming that school officials told her the photo “promoted teen pregnancy,” Fox 8 reported Wednesday.
The teen mom claims students were told they could pose with props that best represented an achievement they were proud of -- her newborn son being hers.
"He helped me get to where I am today. I wouldn't be the person I am today without him," she said. “He has helped me achieve my goals to graduate high school and go forward with my dreams."
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Randolph County School officials didn’t comment on Tiller’s claims about why the controversial photo was banned, only stating that yearbook pictures are meant to be about the students and not meant to feature other family members. According to officials, Tiller refused the option to submit a different photo to the yearbook committee.
Tiller’s mother, Karen Morgan, said she was saddened by the school’s reactions to the photo, which the student says she thinks promotes “love.”
“She took responsibility. 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 said.
The teen graduated from the North Carolina school in January and is currently working part-time. According to her Facebook page, she is currently attending college and loving her higher education experience.
“Finally done with my first classes at college, and now I am off to start some more!’ Tiller said. “Absolutely cannot wait."