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    Posted May 15, 2014 by
    San Francisco, California
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    Teen's Grad Photo Rejected Over Tuxedo


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory issued a statement on Monday May 19 apologizing to Jessica Urbina's family and announcing it will change its policy regarding senior portraits. The school will also include Jessica's photo in the yearbook.

    In the statement from the school's president and principal, they said they decided to reprint the yearbook to include Jessica’s photo in the portrait section, but in a meeting with Jessica's family, the family said that "because of the love and support shown by her schoolmates over these last few days," Jessica and her family did not want students to wait to receive their yearbooks. "Rather than reprinting the yearbooks, therefore, they have suggested other methods to include Jessica’s senior portrait," the statement said.

    School spokeswoman Michelle Forshner said Wednesday the school will be pasting her photo into the senior portrait section of the yearbook, and offer reprints for those who would like one.

    "We agree with our students who showed solidarity with their classmate that the current policy regarding senior portraits is not adequate to meet the needs of our families or our mission. We will involve our students, families, and Board in crafting the updated policy...

    "While we believe SHC to be a safe and supportive environment for all, this situation has reminded us that we still have much growth to achieve. While many gay and lesbian alumni and students have commented on the inclusive, supportive aspect of our school community, others have remarked on some prejudice that still exists. As a school, we must better learn how to support our students who are navigating issues of gender identity."

    You can read the entire statement here.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    A San Francisco Catholic school's decision to exclude a high school senior's graduation photo in their yearbook is receiving heavy criticism.


    Senior Jessica Urbina is set to graduate from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in a little over a week, but she won't be able to see her photo at graduation night.


    On picture day, Urbina forwent wearing a dress, as required for all female seniors' graduation photos, opting instead to wear a tuxedo, the traditional outfit for male students. Sacred Heart Cathedral, abiding by the rules set by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, rejected this picture of her and denied its printing in the school's annual yearbook. The school will also not allow the picture to be displayed at graduation.


    Outrage has sparked on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. Urbina has received an flood of support from fellow students at Sacred Heart Cathedral, who have posted her graduation photo proof over the internet, along with the tag #JessicasTux, in hopes of spreading the word on Jessica's situation.


    Students are planning to wear ties to school on Friday to protest the school's decision in solidarity with Urbina.


    Jessica Urbina and her family will reportedly meet with the school administration on Friday.


    Update 5-15-14 8:38 pm PST: Sacred Heart Cathedral released this statement:


    "We are deeply proud of our students at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. It is a special time of year as we honor our seniors for their many accomplishments and for their countless contributions to the life of our school and community.


    As we prepare to pass out yearbooks it is always regretful when a student portrait is omitted for any reason. As a community we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all students are included in the future.


    We want to reassure our community that all graduating seniors are represented in the commencement program."


    Update 5-16-14 4:45 pm PST: Several students wore ties to school Friday and Sacred Heart Cathedral released another statement in response:


    "A Message to the Greater SHC Community


    In working with young people, we are mindful of our responsibility to maintain confidentiality. Respectful of that responsibility, we also want to update our community regarding student participation in senior portraits and our yearbook.


    SHC’s yearbook is an official school publication and decisions regarding its contents are made by the school administration. 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.


    With each of our students we strive to affirm the value, worth and intrinsic dignity of all, and to foster a supportive and nurturing learning environment. The resulting meaningful discourse and reflection on the practices and policies of the school are at the heart of our mission as an inclusive, Catholic community of faith.


    Our students have risen in support of each other and the principles central to our community. We are proud of their leadership and thoughtful effort to affect change."

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