Yearbook Prank -- Would You Call This Bullying?

July 06,2011
Erin Dower( )

A news story about a high school prank in my hometown has gotten a lot of attention -- and kinda sounds like a bad episode of Glee.

On the last day of school at Saratoga Springs High School in upstate New York (a very good public school, if I do say so myself), the faculty had to delay distributing the 2011 yearbook because a popular senior girl's photo had been doctored -- with her front teeth Photoshopped to be gold.  The girl, Maya Kurchner, and her parents were naturally furious.

This was the first year that the yearbook was self-published, or designed and planned entirely by the school yearbook committee rather than the yearbook company (we'll see if that happens again!). The yearbook advisor, school administrators, and faculty worked quickly to put out the fire of the girls' doctored photo when they discovered the tampered page by clipping out Maya's picture (and the pic of the boy on the back side of that page) in all the yearbooks before handing them out to students. Later, the school announced that they and the yearbook company would cover the cost of a reprint of the 1,000 yearbooks for all the high schoolers.

Police are investigating the incident. Many in the community are calling it a case of bullying that should lead to an arrest. Others are saying it was a fairly innocent prank (and are quick to note Maya is a not-so-nice Queen Bee -- and an aspiring star who launched a single on the local pop radio station the same week the tarnished yearbooks came out).

What would you think if you were Maya's parents? The yearbook reprint is surely warranted. Would you want someone arrested over this? Or, with your child moving on to college, would you drop the incident and move on?

Bullying and teasing take many forms these days -- and it's getting harder and harder for adults to stay ahead of teens' problems. Kids were reportedly talking on Facebook about the yearbook incident the night before yearbooks even went out.