senior portraits

YAKIMA, WA - Recently West Valley High School announced changes for seniors regarding their yearbook pictures.

"This year all West Valley seniors will be provided with high-level professional photography for their yearbook portrait, at no cost."

The Facebook post caused some uproar among students and parents.

"This is wrong they're forcing our kids to be just like everybody else, but they preach individuality and they preach diversity. Where's the diversity in making everyone look the same?" said Brianne Babbitt parent of a two West Valley High School students.

The Facebook post also had two pictures as examples. Minutes after, comments flooded the post from parents unhappy with the announcement, and that's because in previous years students were able to turn in their own pictures.

"They are going to take away these cool poses that these kids come up with, or the photographer shows them. This one, this is a really cool picture too," said Babbitt.

Parents like Babbitt who have children in the high school don't think the change is fair and neither does her daughter who just began her senior year.

"It makes me a little disappointed, because I've looked forward to it the last three years of high school, and it's something that I've been wanting to do, and express myself in a different way than just the basic pictures," said Brianne's daughter.

Ben McMurry the high school's principal says the yearbook class came up with the idea and it's an idea he supports.

"I know one of the arguments is about individuality and taking that away from the students. Being a West Valley graduate I enjoyed having individuality, but I do see the benefits of it being equitable as well," said McMurry.

McMurry also says about 20% of seniors don't turn in a picture and with this idea they are simply trying to give everyone the same opportunity as stated in the post.

"Not all students have access to professional photography for their senior portraits."

Babbitt understands this but still doesn't find it fair.

"You have a phone, I have a phone, my neighbor has a phone, someone's got a camera. If they really want a photo, then take it with a phone. Go to your grandma's yard, go to your friends yard, go to the park or whatever, and have a photo taken there; if that's what you choose," said Babbitt.

McMurry said a petition with over 1,400 signatures was given to the school board last week, everyone who signed does not agree with the change.

He says all those that disagree and have ideas can present them to the yearbook committee.

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