Pregnant Teen's Yearbook Selfie Creates First Amendment Fight At High School (Photos)

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Hannah TalbertHannah Talbert

Photos of a 17-year-old pregnant teen from Mount Vernon, Washington, may be banned from her school yearbook.

“We wanted to do more diversity in the yearbook instead of the classic ‘homecoming’ stories,'” Anderson Bonilla, editor of Mount Vernon High School’s yearbook, told ABC News.

"We want to show the real world of what Mount Vernon is,'' Bonilla told NBC 4 Washington. "We wanted to report something worth knowing."

The school principal, Esther Manns, allegedly will not allow the photos to be published.

The photos of pregnant Hannah Talbert were originally posted to her Instagram account. The selfies show her in front of the bathroom mirror during her pregnancy.

“I had no idea it would turn into something much bigger,” Talbert, who gave birth to a baby boy seven months ago, told ABC News of the controversy surrounding the photos.

“I think it’s just skin and just a baby in there,” she added. “I’m not trying to be provocative. I think it’s because I’m 17.”

Manns allegedly refused to approve the use of the photos because Talbert’s stomach is showing and she feared the teen might regret the selfies later in life.

"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."

Bonilla said he finds Manns' decision a violation of his First Amendment and due process rights and has sought legal representation from the Student Press Law Center.

“We knew we would face challenges but we never knew it would go that far,” Bonilla said.

According to Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre, Manns gave students a list of conditions that had to be met before the yearbook could be published. They include: written consent from students to publish photos or quotes, the removal of a racially charged word from the yearbook, and approval of pages by the principal before publication.

Manns has reportedly not submitted a final decision on whether to publish the photos, according to NBC 4 Washington.

Talbert, who plans on continuing her education and is already taking courses to fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon, is excited the school wants to include a pregnant spread in the yearbook.

“I think that it’s important to be in there because there are a lot of teen moms at our school and it’s a really big misconception that you can’t be successful or happy anymore,” Talbert told ABC News.

She has the support of her parents in her future endeavors.

“A lot of teen moms drop out of school, and she’s trying to show that you can still go to school and get an education,” Talbert’s mother, Tracy Perkins, said. “Going to school full-time and doing all that stuff … yes, it’s hard but she’s still doing it and she’s doing it successfully.”

The Student Press Law Center released the following statement to ABC News: “Common sense should carry the day and the school should realize 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.”

Talbert and Bonilla hope the photo spread will make it into the yearbook.

“I just think other girls should know that they’re not alone,” Talbert said. "And when someone tells you you can’t do something, you want to prove them wrong."

In 2013, a total of 273,105 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years old, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sources: ABC News, NBC 4 Washington, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Photo credit: Daily Mail, Hannah Talbert via ABC News