School Wipes Jessica Urbina's Yearbook Photo Because She's Wearing a Tux, Gets Major Twitter Backlash
One San Francisco High School made a grave mistake when it chose to wipe 18-year-old Jessica Urbina’s yearbook picture because she wore a tuxedo, causing a deserved — and very public — backlash. The school's reasoning? Female students have to wear dresses for their yearbook pictures, without exception.Though this certainly isn't the first time that a school has enacted rigid and outdated policies, the student body's incredible response will hopefully teach the institution (and all similarly-inclined institutions) a much-needed lesson.
“Straight, gay, bi, transgender, all that. They’re all welcome at Sacred Heart Cathedral," Principal Gary Cannon told journalists, according to the San Fransisco Gate. "At the same time we’re going to be clear in terms of being a Catholic institution what the Catholic church teaches and how do we live out that faith in a meaningful way, and in a supportive way with all of our students.”
Support for Urbina has been strong and widespread. In her school, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, her peers showed up wearing ties and bow-ties in solidarity on Friday; and her older brother started a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #JessicasTux, getting attention from a wide range of people, from Anonymous to Melissa Harris Perry. The backlash has been so powerful that within a day, school officials are already beginning to change their tune.
"SHC’s yearbook is an official school publication and decisions regarding its contents are made by the school administration," the school says in a statement on their website. "While not all are in the portrait pages, each of our 286 seniors are represented with photographs throughout the yearbook. In addition, all seniors will be represented equally at SHC graduation festivities. These events have sparked a campuswide dialogue which will result in a revision of policy."
Schools across the country have been making headlines of late for their egregiously sexist and/or homophobic policies. Recently, one girl was refused enrollment at a Christian K-8 in Virginia because she failed to follow "biblical standards" by apparently "dressing like a boy." Then of course there was the case of the North Carolina school that banned a nine-year-old from carrying around a My Little Pony backpack because he was a boy, as well as that other eighth-grader who was suspended for wearing a purse. And just last year, a transgender student at a school near the Texas Gulf Coast, was told his picture — in which he was wearing a tux — wouldn't be used in his senior yearbook. Clearly, these institituions need to wake up to the fact that it's 2014, already — although it's a pretty major victory that at least Urbina's peers rallied to her side.